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Earth League Reception and Science-Meets-Art Event: “How can a Minority tip the Majority? Inducing Transformations on the Ground”

Evening event during Earth League Symposium, Potsdam Museum, 23 January 2017

Logo panel

Monday, January 23, 2017, Potsdam Museum, Potsdam, Germany

Science-Meets-Art event

Potsdam Museum
Credit: Wikipedia

On the evening of Monday, January 23rd 2017 (starting 7:00 pm with a public reception), we invite to a Science-Meets-Art Event, titled “How can a Minority tip the Majority? Inducing Transformations on the Ground” with reflections from prominent artists & scientists at the Potsdam Museum.

The event is exclusively held in English (no translations will be provided).


6:30 pm Reception and dinner buffet (for Earth League Symposium participants only)

7:00 pm Public reception

7:30 pm Welcome address (Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber CBE, director of PIK)

7:35 pm Audiovisual performance by Werner Cee and science-art reflections on panel (Moderation: Jonas Viering).


9:00 pm End


Both science and the arts are societal minorities with very specific eigenlogik. As different as they are, can they join forces to tip a majority to help achieve the Great Transformation towards Sustainability? Or rather march separately and win together? How could science and the arts counter the current anti-elite spirit in large parts of public discourse? How can science act in the era of post-truth populism attacking the achievements of enlightenment, and is art maybe better equipped to tackle this challenge? These are just some of the questions to be discussed at this event, contrasting - or bringing together - different perspectives on one of the most pressing issues of our time. The Amazon as well as Antarctica will serve as examples for how difficult it is to protect some of the most sensitive, and most relevant, elements of the Earth system. Both are considered to be potential tipping elements under climate change, with likely fatal consequences. Yet maybe there are tipping points in the society as well - bringing about the Great Transformation.

Panel discussants

Carlos Nobre (Scientist, Brazil)Carlos Nobre

Carlos Nobre is one of Brazil's best known climate scientists. He was the Director of the Center for Earth System Science and Senior Scientist at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) of Brazil, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Research Network on Global Climate Change (Rede CLIMA), Scientific Director of the National Institute for Climate Change Research. Nobre's work focused on the Amazon and its impacts on the Earth system. He chaired the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), an international research initiative designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatological, ecological, bio-geochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia, the impact of land use change on these functions, and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system. He is also a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a well-known public figure who has been advocating new ways of reducing deforestation by focusing on the value of forest products, led by developing nations like Brazil and India. In 2013, Nobre was appointed to the UN High-Level Scientific Advisory Panel on Global Sustainability.

Werner Cee (Artist, Germany)

Werner Cee

Werner Cee is a German Sound Art composer, musician and creator of radio art. He has realized more than 30 large-scale Ars Acustica productions for major national broadcasting stations in Germany.

He is not the man to tackle light subjects: His radio works include Luis Buñuel's last screenplay „Agón“ turned into an acoustical thriller, an inferno of drum sounds (recorded in Buñuel's home town Calanda) or Lord Byron's poem „Darkness“ composed into a fever dream about the end of the world in the „Year without a Summer“ 1816. He focuses on sound dramaturgy, mastering the balancing act betweeen the narrative and the musical meanings of sound. His special sensitivity for acoustic polysemy can be traced back to his roots in the visual arts: Having studied at the University of Fine Arts Frankfurt/Main in the 70s, he elaborates his radio plays into sounding images, associative scenes and sceneries – but he also works with the „real“ image in sound installations/stagings of sound works for festivals such as Herrenhäuser Gärten in Hanover or Schumann Festival Castle Benrath, and in his audio slide shows, where he confronts sounds with his photography.

Werner Cee has received many international grants and awards.

Further information and links to be found on

Ricarda Winkelmann (Scientist, Germany)Ricarda Winkelmann

Ricarda Winkelmann is a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany and teaches climate physics as junior professor at Potsdam University. Winkelmann is a member of the German Young Academy of Science and contributing author of the sea-level chapter of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.

Trained as a mathematician and theoretical physicist in Germany and the United States, Winkelmann received her PhD with distinction from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in 2012. For her thesis addressing the future sea-level contribution from Antarctica, she was awarded the young scientists prize for outstanding publications from the Leibniz-Kolleg Potsdam.

After a research visit at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Winkelmann was appointed Junior Professor for Climate System Analysis at Potsdam University in 2014. Her research at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research focuses on tipping elements in the Earth System, Antarctic ice-dynamics and future sea-level rise.

Richard Frater (Artist, New Zealand)Stop Shell, artwork by Richard Frater

Richard Frater was born 1984 in Wellington, New Zealand. He lives and works in Berlin.

Recent exhibitions include man, man, man at Robert Heald Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, Wow Tides, at Mavra, Berlin, New 15 at ACCA, Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Living Cities 2011-, at Adam Art Gallery, Let’s Destroy the Earth but Keep Humans at Galerie Gregor Staiger, in Zurich. Upcoming shows include Farewell Photography, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg e.V, The Weight of the Cloud, Dowse Art Museum, Wellington.

Selected works of Richard Frater


Potsdam Museum - Forum für Kunst und Geschichte
Am Alten Markt 9
14467 Potsdam

How to get there

Organised for the Earth League by

The Earth League is an international network of 20 leading scientists working on pressing issues facing humankind today:

Johan Rockström (Chair), Tanja Abrahamse, Guy P. Brasseur, Ottmar Edenhofer, Hironori Hamanaka, Sir Brian Hoskins, Pavel Kabat, Mario J. Molina, Jennifer Morgan, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Carlos Nobre, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, John Schellnhuber, Peter Schlosser, Youba Sokona, Leena Srivastava, Lord Nicholas Stern, Laurence Tubiana, Carolina Vera, Guanhua Xu.

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