The first time I saw this image, my visceral reaction was immediate and profound, gazing upon politicians debating our planet’s global crisis with the waters lapping at their lapels, filling their mouths and covering them completely.
And then I learned more about this image, and about Cordal’s work. These are tiny, clay figures which he crafted and then placed in a puddle on a street in Berlin, Germany. When seen from afar, they are nothing but dots poking out of temporarily collected water. However, when one zooms in, this is the result: a majestic, striking picture of politicians refusing to act even as the waters overcome them, and us.
It’s a perfect metaphor for climate change inaction: from afar, it’s easy to ignore and dismiss, but zoom in and the crisis is clear.
What’s amazing about this image is that Cordal’s original intention was not for this image to be about climate change. Titled as “electoral campaign” the image comes from his follow the Leaders sculpture series, which contains incredible, miniature sculptures of urban decline and societal collapse.
However, the image has been reinterpreted and recast by Cordal’s audience, partially because he himself, among the hundreds of tiny sculptures he’s planted around Europe, has created sculptures explicitly about global warming.