How Video Game Devs And Musicians Are Processing Climate Change

How does our changing climate get expressed in a folk song versus a video game?

pixel art depicting a rowboat with two characters on it, navigating a river with landblocks and plastic bags inside.
An in-game image from Row, the winner of Indiecade’s 2022 Climate Jam. Credit: Beagle Studios

Listen to Universe of Art on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn, or your favorite podcasting app. Read this episode’s transcript here.

It’s Climate Week in New York City this week, which brings together hundreds of events (including one from Science Friday!), all aimed at encouraging conversation and participation and action around our climate crisis.

So this week, we wanted to play two stories of artists grappling with and integrating climate change into their work. The first is about a gaming competition called the Climate Jam, where teams compete to build video games about climate change in just one week. Universe of Art host D. Peterschmidt talked with Indiecade organizers and the winning team about their game, and how they’re working to overcome climate apathy.

The second is an interview with folk musician and independent scholar Daniel Bachman. His latest album, Almanac Behind, is a meditative instrumental reflection on the extreme weather events in Bachman’s home state of Virginia—using actual field recordings of those events. He also talks about his work as an independent scholar, and how the traditions of Appalachian folklore influenced his view of the album as a climatological historical document.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

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Meet the Writer

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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