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“Who can we trust with our collective future?” Artist John Akomfrah posed this pressing question in relation to his epic video work, Purple (2017), which offers a visual meditation on the effects of human progress on the planet. At a time when futures feel uncertain, many creatives have focused their efforts on raising awareness of environmental issues, using culture as a platform to bolster evidence provided by science that we are at a moment of collective crisis.

Responses to the climate crisis can come in many different forms, from music composition and dance choreography to paintings and policymaking. JD Talasek, Director of Cultural Programs at the National Academy of Sciences, moderated a conversation exploring creative approaches to advocacy with artist and city planner Andrea Limauro; musician and researcher Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky; and dancer, choreographer, policymaker Diana Movius.

The program was presented as part of the Hirshhorn Summit, inspired by John Akomfrah: Purple.

If you would like to request special accommodations for this program, please email hirshhornexperience@si.edu.

CAN’T WAIT? Check out these other resources to explore John Akomfrah and his work.



  • John Akomfrah: Purple (2017) at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, on view through January 2024

JD Talasek
is a curator, researcher and writer with an interest in exploring the intersection of art, science and culture through collaborative and integrative work. He has been at the National Academy of Sciences for over 20 years and serving as the director of Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences for most of that time. He is interested in better understanding the relationship between disciplines and the benefits of collaborative and integrative practices in education, research (both art and science) and society.

Andrea Limauro is an Italian-born visual artist, city planner and climate resilience expert whose art explores the impacts of climate change, nationalistic narratives, migration and migrant identity, gun violence, and other political and social issues.  Limauro’s work has been exhibited widely in the Washington, DC region including at the Art Museum of the Americas and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, as well as at the Painting Center in New York City, New York and the US Ambassador’s Residence in Vienna, Austria. His paintings have been included in New American Paintings N.148 and Studio Visit Magazine Vol. 50 and have been reviewed by the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper on several occasions.  Additionally, for the last 14 years, Limauro has worked as a city planner and resilience expert for the District of Columbia government where he currently leads equity-driven and community-based flood resilience planning.  Limauro served as a Board Member of the Washington Project for the Arts for seven years. He holds a BA in Politics and Sociology from Essex University, UK, a Graduate Diploma in International Development from the University of Padua, Italy and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, is a composer, multimedia artist, and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Miller has collaborated with an array of recording artists, including Metallica, Chuck D, Steve Reich, and Yoko Ono. His 2018 album, DJ Spooky Presents: Phantom Dancehall, debuted at #3 on Billboard Reggae. His large-scale, multimedia performance pieces include “Rebirth of a Nation,” Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Seoul Counterpoint, written during his 2014 residency at Seoul Institute of the Arts. His multimedia project Sonic Web premiered at San Francisco’s Internet Archive in 2019. He was the inaugural artist-in-residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Met Reframed, 2012-2013. In 2014, he was named National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He produced Pioneers of African American Cinema, a collection of the earliest films made by African American directors, released in 2015. Miller’s artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries.

Diana Movius is the Senior Director of Global Forest Policy, where she specializes in addressing deforestation through international climate policy, climate finance, and supply chains. She has been working on international climate policy and REDD+ since 2007 and on tropical forests since 2004. Prior to joining Climate Advisers in 2018, Movius worked for and consulted for numerous leading organizations in the climate policy and forests arena. Diana is the Founder of Dance Loft on 14, the flagship dance center of Moveius Contemporary Ballet. Dance Loft is dedicated to providing professional and affordable dance spaces, and it serves the city-wide dance community and its local neighborhood with space, dance education, and performances. Diana’s GLACIER: A Climate Change Ballet toured nationally to San Francisco (2018) and New York City (2019) as the first ballet to be presented as part of international climate conferences. GLACIER and other works by Movius have been critically acclaimed in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, DanceInforma, Reuters, Observer.com, Dance Enthusiast, Climatewire, EEnews, City Paper, Charlotte Observer, and other outlets. She is the recipient of a 2018 Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project for Rite of Spring, Crash of Fall, an adaptation of Stravinsky’s iconic score to depict the fall of Wall Street in 2008.

Image credit: “The Swamp Takes Over” (detail), Andrea Limauro, Courtesy of the Artist.


April 22, 2023
3:00 pm–4:00 pm
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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW
Washington, DC 20560 United States
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