Global Warming Funtime Island


2 June 2017

On the occasion of the Paris Climate Agreement in November 2015, Disegno approached 10 designers to reimagine the ways in which climate change is communicated. The resulting project, titled 2°C, gave rise to a wide array of proposals aimed to provoke thought as well as action. In the light of president Trump announcing the US' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, Disegno is republishing one of the 2°C entries, Dominic Wilcox's satirical illustration Global Warming Funtime Island.

The poster sees Wilcox, a London-based designer and a graduate of the Royal College of Art, satirise the failings of societies and governments in dealing with climate change. The Global Warming Funtime Island is an imagined island theme park, in which each ride ridicules the political and societal stasis around preventing global warming.

Rides include Flooded Street Snorkelling, Politician Hot Air Hang Gliding, and The Miniature Smog Filled City of the Future. "I wanted to confront the knowledge that children will be picking up the tab on global warming," says Wilcox. How many people enjoy their lives in the same way as usual in full knowledge that the earth is being badly affected? It's like partying on the titanic as it sinks."

"I’ve always liked maps. I have maps on the wall and I like knowing where you are in the world. It maybe brings the drawing a bit closer to a feeling of reality, as though this place does exist," says Wilcox. "I tend to use humour or surprise as a vehicle for communicating ideas beyond itself. When people smile in delight then you can get all sorts of other ideas in there at the same time. "

The poster was created by Wilcox for 2°C, a climate change project that grew into a feature in Disegno No.9 and an exhibition at The Aram Gallery in London. Disegno invited Wilcox and nine other designers to create proposals for how climate change might be better communicated to the general public. The project was conceived to tie in with COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference that was taking place in Paris concurrently.

Wilcox's response was typical of his wider design work, which often uses humour and slapstick to challenge the assumptions and mores of the design world. Previous projects include a driverless, stained-glass car concept, and a series of breakfast devices for Kellogg's. Wilcox was recently a featured guest on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

"There's a clash in my drawing between the fun and excitement of playgrounds and the reality of what is happening to the planet," he says. "I was thinking about typical playground activities, a roundabout, a slide, and whether they could become something symbolic. It went from one idea to the next and then gradually I had enough thoughts to fill a playground."