On the occasion of the exhibition Hidden Costs currently shown at the Einstein Forum, the artist and environmental activist J Henry Fair will reflect on the political uses and abuses of art. Hidden Costs is about the hidden damage done to our environment by the making of the things we buy and use, and our willing ignorance of this “externality”. An important facet of this aspect of our society is the politicization and the discrediting of science and language. Art can be a mode of communication that supersedes failed dialog in our era of soundbite and echo chambers. By stimulating emotion, art can sidestep beliefs that dialog cannot challenge. The discussion is illustrated with a “slide show” of numerous pictures that are fascinatingly beautiful, haunting, and disturbing. The narrative alternates between factual explanation of the problems that face us, humorous anecdotes, flavored with the tiniest bit of tech talk, about the making of the images, and explanation of the images.
J Henry Fair uses pictures to tell stories about people and things that affect people. He is based in New York City and Berlin, but travels constantly. His recent book, Industrial Scars: The Hidden Costs of Consumption sold out the first printing. His new book, the first of the Coastline series, On The Edge: From Combahee To Winyah, was published in spring 2019.