The presentation explores and analyses images of post-climate crisis futures that circulate in political web videos as part of the current Global Northern climate discourse. Starting from the observation that many of these images resemble each other, they are further discussed against the background of ‘imaginal climate politics’.
The main argument is that the given examples represent an ‘affective rhetoric of visible futures’ that is used across different types of videos and actors to promote certain climate political strategies. This rhetoric, however, has to be criticised from a ‘climate justice communication’ perspective. Not only do similar futures indicate a depressing lack of imagination, the promoted strategies and societies also differ significantly. And while the need to imagine a livable, post-climate crisis future has gained political, epistemic, and emotional relevance in the Global North, countries in the Global South are already and disproportionately affected by the climate crisis – and activist videos that shine a light on this situation often struggle to succeed in the attention ecologies of the social web. The presentation thus undertakes both a vivid and critical look at the selected cases. Its underlying assumption is that, while many activists use and fill out the (u)topos of alternative worlds, details are crucial: how does the promoted future look? How far or close is it? How do we get there? What or whom is left behind? Who presents which future to whom? Does it differ from the present?
Tobias Gralke is active in the fields of cultural work, political education, activism, and democracy research. He studied literature/philosophy at the University of Freiburg, Cultural Studies at the University of Hildesheim, and Human Rights at the School of Advanced Studies/University of London. He currently works as a research fellow in the project »Attention Strategies of Video Activism on the Social Web« at the University of Bonn and conducts a PhD project on audiovisual climate communication at the Film University of Babelsberg (Supervisor: Jens Eder).