Called Earth Edition: A Festival of Eco-Consciousness, the ten-day event was located at the California Institute of Art's (CalArts) campus in Santa Clarita and sought to "shift the tone of the conversation around the climate crisis" with AI technology, large-scale immersive installations and climate-oriented work by over 40 individual artists.
The event was organised by Visions2030, a "future-oriented initiative that engages the creative imagination".
"It's really about an un-school," Visions2030 founder Carey Lovelace told Dezeen. "Where you can come in and unlearn everything you that you've learned to sort of see a vision of the future."
"The whole point is to stimulate people's dreams and open up these new avenues of what's possible."
Three interconnected geodesic domes, created in collaboration with design studio Minds Over Matter, stood at the centre of the fair, ranging in size from 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 metres) in diameter.
The first two domes contained digital projections created by Minds Over Matter, while the last contained a more traditional gallery space.
In the first, benches encircled a spherical projection intended to evoke a campfire.
In the second, visitors sat underneath a projection of colourful visuals cast onto the ceiling which were accompanied by "meditative sound baths".
Visitors were then encouraged to create an image of an idealized eco-future with AI technology in the third dome, using an interactive platform installed on tablets.
These images were then projected onto a digitized gallery within the same space for guests to examine.
Artwork and interactive installations from over 40 artists explored world-building and sustainability and were installed elsewhere around the campus and in two large gallery spaces.
Curated by Vera Petukhova, highlights from the Futuring (Art for Building New Worlds) exhibition included Ain't No Green Without Brown by artist Ruben Ochoa in collaboration with Cam La.
It featured "living sculptures" designed to bring attention to the oft-ignored contributions of Latinx agricultural workers through a collection of farmworkers' clothing strewn about a small site.
Within the pants, hoodies and sleeves, Ochoa nested small planting beds in order to transform the clothing into a "living system".
For Sproutime is Now, performance artist Leslie Labowitz Starus created a mixed-media installation of layers of soils, seeds, grass clippings and picket-sign-styled messaging which centres the sales of organic foods.
The artist also hosted the EcoExpo on a campus patio, a "green marketplace" that showcased local agricultural and activist groups through plant installations as a way to spark "generative conversations".
The fair also featured the Zukunft Garten (A Solarpunk Experience) by hacker and futurist John Threat, a theatre space outfitted with plants by Latinx With Plants that hosted talks, DJ sets and "unlearning" workshops.
The space tapped into so-called solarpunk culture through a combination of digital experiences and plants installed on walls, floors and the ceiling.
"Cyberpunk is future-oriented, dystopian," said Lovelace. "Solarpunk is utopian. It poses the question, 'What if nature and technology could meet and create a wonderful world?'"
At the Indigenous Deep Knowledge Circle created by CalArts faculty member Chad S Hamill (čnaq'ymi), guests were encouraged to reconsider their relationship with the earth through installations by local artists that highlight the traditional knowledge of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
"Often when dealing with climate, we are presented with catastrophizing language," said Lovelace. "At the same time, there is an unprecedented rise in climate anxiety among younger generations."
"With an alternative, more optimistic tenor to the eco-discourse, we hope to contribute to guiding the climate action movement into a more vibrant form."
Other recent climate-focused exhibitions include Prowl Studio's Beacon exhibition in San Francisco which explored sustainable materials and technology and a MoMA exhibition focused on exposing the public to new strains of thinking regarding architecture and environmentalism.
The photography is courtesy of Earth Edition.
Earth Edition was on show at the California Institute of the Arts from 15 September to 24 September 2023. For more exhibitions, events and talks in architecture and design, visit Dezeen Events Guide.