The biggest threat

A Conversation on Climate Change

The exhibition showcases the results of a month-long research on the topic of climate change, during the last weeks of the American 45th Presidential Elections.

Donald Trump appeared as one of the most influential actors in the discussion, and his opinions on the topic of climate change were highly discussed by online news outlets in the United States.

Starting with the introduction to the roadmap, explaining how the research was conducted, attendees will be able to explore the complex topic of climate change through the eyes of Donald Trump. They will have the opportunity to stand on his podium and see how what he said during the presidential campaign impacted the general discussion on climate change.

The title of the exhibition comes from Donald Trump’s quote “Obama thinks that global warming is the biggest threat in the world today”. Donald Trump, one of the most famous climate change denier in the world, thinks that global warming is not a troublesome issue for humanity.

The aim of the exhibition is to relate the figure of Donald Trump to the idea of threat leading visitors to reflect on the entity of danger.
What’s the real biggest threat afflicting the world?

Roadmap

The roadmap is the first touch point the visitor can observe that shows the research process from which the exhibition has been designed. The research has been conducted at the turn of the Donald Trump elections and for this reason it focuses on 2016, from September to November. To trace the evolution of the discussion, the same time range was analized for 2015 and 2014.

On the left side the trend line shows the results related to the query “climate change” on Google News and the two peaks correspond with two significant events tied to the Presidential Elections.

The trend line comes up against ranked bar charts that displays the 10 most relevant sources on climate change from September to November in 2016 according to their appearence on Google News.

The last two visualisations show the content of articles analyzed during the research. When people read online news they focus at once on titles and images: that’s where the data was gathered from. The network shows the connections between the main actors mentioned by the news titles, while the treemap shows the categories of the images, according to what they portray.

Podium

Donald Trump’s podium is the touchpoint that mostly helps visitors feel involved because of its appearance. It’s a visual element well known by people, one that always appears together with Donald Trump. It’s a metaphor of Trump’s prevalent voice in the discussion of climate change that has became more and more political during the years when the research has been conducted. This paradox wants to explain how a scientific phenomenon like climate change could be exploited by politics.

In the end, the vacuum podium excites the attendees curiosity pushing them to take the place of the speaker.

Report on Climate Change

The report is positioned on the podium, and it represents the discussion around the issue of climate change as it is configured on Wikipedia. Each page is a section found on the encyclopedia, created from the aggregation of different voices. The height of the label is proportional to the number of Wikipedia pages related to the subject in 2016.

Each of the report’s section illustrates the subject with the data gathered during the research, from beginning to end, and it’s possible to view where they come from on the research roadmap.
On these sections, a transparent overlay is positioned, which represents how Donald Trump interacts with the content of the different subjects.

Of all images gathered from the article corpus, the larger part is about international meetings. The transparent overlay covers a part of the photo and adds Donald Trump’s quote on the issue, changing the meaning of the report’s section.

The data are from United Nations's register of bilateral donations for climate change programs. The red stripes cover the part of donations coming from the United States.

NASA gathers data about different aspects of global climate change. The red overlay covers just a part of the content below, the red one, leaving the black text and the graph related to Donald Trump’s quote on global temperature.

The quotes are gathered from the articles scraped from the web. The layout makes a wall of text composed by the words of climate change deniers in which Donald Trump’s quotes are highlighted with a yellow overlay.

In the three years analyzed, solar power appeared 13 times on 23 total images representing renewable energy. The overlay covers the photo, showing only the worker in the middle, which is also one of the main focuses of Donald Trump’s campaign.

This section shows the most representative sub-categories of the images related to disasters. The photos represent some of the main effects of climate change according to scientific studies. The overlay covers all these images.

"Climate Change" Issue Page on the White House website

When the research was ultimately finished, on the 20th January 2017, Donald Trump was proclaimed 45th President of the United States. The following day, he left again a mark on the topic of climate change.

On the White House website, the web page previously called “Climate Change” was replaced by a page called “An America First Energy Plan”, effectively erasing all references to the issue on one of the most official sources in the U.S.