Everybody talks about the weather

Reflecting on climate change at the Prada Foundation in Venice

Everybody Talks About the Weather was the exhibition hosted by the Prada Foundation in Venice in 2023 and curated by Dieter Rolestraete. However, the theme of climate change was also the subject of a conference held at Palazzo Corner della Regina.

The Max Planck Institute 

The director of the Max Planck Institute, Bjiorn Stevan, has clarified in a straightforward manner what is meant by a forecasting model. Climate is a tangible object, known in a non-abstract way, so the model I present, especially when referring to past forecasts, is easily understandable. The scientific debate tends to be authoritative, and the scientific method is based on reasoning that, however, is not uniform; there is no single scenario for the future. Nevertheless, there are gaps in information and forecasts because, for certain international communities, data is lacking. An example is the Marshall Islands, where there are no data, studies, or forecasts.

Prediction models related to climate change must be abstract. Science aims to address knowledge problems, not societal ones, so they should not solely concern people. Climate is currently the second priority for institutions. Models are not always reliable, as not all locations are studied equally. For instance, in the Mediterranean, there is less data and fewer scientists, despite the changes occurring rapidly. Observations in Africa are also limited, as pointed out by Gomez Barres. (Brown University, Province). Even Google Maps excludes small areas, which is understandable when considering that Google prioritizes economically profitable and in-demand regions.

The idea that possible scenarios may differ in some way comforts us and leads us to think that perhaps there are models for predicting climate change, but there might be even worse ones.

Alle reden vom Wettere Wir nicht, Holzfreier/Bernhardt Federal Railways advertisement

Everybody talks about the weather: the exposition

The title of the exhibition derives from the slogan Alle reden vom Wetter. Wir nicht (Everyone talks about the weather. we don’t), reproduced in a poster created in 1968 by the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (Socialist German Student Union) featuring Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. In 2019, the German artist Anne-Christine Klarmann conceived a new version of the poster depicting Judith Ellens, Carola Rackete, and Greta Thunberg, modifying the original slogan to: ‘Alle reden vom Wetter. Wir auch’ (Everyone talks about the weather. We do too).

Rain, Gold, Pae White

How do artists engage with time and climate change?

In the palace that was once the residence of the Venetian queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, and later the beautiful library of the Venice Biennale (Asac), until its acquisition by the Prada Foundation, works from various eras prompted artists to reflect on time. Featuring pieces and prints by artists like Gustave Courbet, Katsushika Hokusai, and Pieter Brueghel the Elder (in replica), the exhibition also included contemporary artworks by artists such as Theaster Gates, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Giorgio Andreotta Calò, all of whom reflected on climate change.

Here is a selection of the works:

Due to its unique structure and fragility, Venice is facing the challenge of climate change. Like many coastal cities, it will have to confront the numerous challenges posed by climate change. And it’s not with foolish demonstrations that offend the city and the Venetians, such as dirtying or defacing monuments and canals, that any real change will be achieved.

So, what will happen?

Fiorella Pagotto


Venice, May 2024