Previous SlideNext Slide

Climate Change Couture

Haute Fashion for a Hotter Planet

The Apocalypse Project at ArtScience Museum

Negotiating Cities of the Future

The Apocalypse Project

The Apocalypse Project is a speculative design research inquiry that explores our possible lifestyles as climate change continues to affect the planet. It is a creative platform that asks specific questions about our environmental futures.

This project is authored by artist Catherine Sarah Young. She began this as part of the 2013 Art Science Residency Programme in partnership with the ArtScience Museum™ at Marina Bay Sands, Tembusu College National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory. She is currently in Manila as the artist-in-residence of The Mind Museum expanding the project. Do get in touch if you'd like to collaborate!

Posts tagged Climate Change Couture

16 posts tagged Climate Change Couture


(22 March 2014, Manila)—Yesterday, I had a booth at The Mind Museum’s Media Day, where the museum celebrated their second birthday. In the second photo, you can see Maribel Garcia, curator of the museum, and Manny Blas, managing director of Bonifacio Foundation, Inc., speaking about their activities for the year, as well as the museum’s accomplishments in the past two years, including winning the 2014 Thea Award in the Museum Exhibits category by the Themed Entertainment Association. Solar News presenter Mitzi Borromeo hosted the show. (Fun fact: She and I used to go to the same boxing class and just formally met yesterday.)  

In the middle of other booths, where the museum’s Mind Movers (resident scientists and all-around awesome people) presented their own projects, I gave people a preview of the show that will open next month (NEXT MONTH! Ayayay.) I wore my Apocalypse suit, now upgraded with a Commander’s patch, and remixed some Climate Change Couture. When taking a break, I helped myself to some salted butter ice cream by Sebastian’s, and a tiramisu cup made to look like a plant by Kyle Imao of Kyle’s Lab. 

The show is getting really close and I am freaking out. Only because I care. 

The Apocalypse Project FAQs Round 1

Hello, apocalypters! Thank you so much for all the support you’ve given The Apocalypse Project, especially Climate Change Couture. I’ve updated the press page with all the links to the blogs and magazines who have featured the project. Many thanks for helping keep the discussion alive. 

I’ve been receiving questions from readers, journalists, and friends alike, that I decided to put them together into one FAQ post. I’ve grouped some similar questions together. If you have any more questions, please do reach out. 

1. Why the name, “The Apocalypse Project”?

Although it has end-of-the-world connotations, which could be what can happen if we keep mistreating the planet, the word “apocalypse” comes from a Greek word that means “disclosure” or “to take off the cover” or “to unveil”. The Apocalypse Project isn’t solely about potential catastrophic events, it’s also about revealing the face of environmental problems through these projects.  

2. How did your project in Seoul influence you to do projects on the environment?

(Pre-apocalypse, I hiked all 43 mountains of Seoul for an installation and community project about the environment. View that project’s website here.) 

Seoul43 was the most physically demanding and personal project I had. I nearly died on a couple of those mountains, and I would not recommend hiking that much in such a short period of time—the staff at The National Art Studio of Korea were definitely worried for me! That project made me witness how human activity was affecting the environment (and vice versa). Don’t get me wrong—I think the Seoul government is doing a relatively great job protecting its mountains and most of the hikers I’ve met were very respectful of the environment. I’ve definitely seen worse in other cities. But some mountains were disappearing or were repurposed as parks or apartment buildings. I wondered if this was ok or not. There is such a big population there that I can understand that they need space. Does that mean it was ok to eliminate a tiny hill or two for the sake of a growing population? Is it ok to make a mountain “bigger” by adding fake soil to it? Is it ok to modernize nature so that we can better take care of it? I still don’t have the answers to that. I usually design my projects around the questions that I’m curious about, which for now are those that are about how we relate to the world. 

3. What are your intentions? / Why speculative design? / Is Climate Change Couture a satire? 

I want us all to think about our relationship with the planet and make better choices.  There are many ways by which we can catalyze discussion and take action about these issues. These projects are my own way of doing that. 

I chose this type of design (i.e. design that thinks about the what ifs and what could bes) because I want to remove climate change from its usual political strings, which for me sometimes miss the more crucial seeds of a conversation about the environment. With this type of creative platform, I can engage people of all ages and backgrounds. We should think about the planet with respect to our humanity, not in terms of power and money. 

Yes, Climate Change Couture is a bit of a satire. The stories that go with them definitely have a tongue-in-cheek tone in them. Remember, these are dystopias—I actually hope that we won’t ever have to use these designs. I wanted to highlight the scenarios we may get ourselves into. 

4. Why climate change? Don’t you know it’s not real?

Oh my god.  

5. If the Climate Change Couture images are dystopias, why are the photographs beautiful?

Beauty is one of the best ways to get you to look. (P.S. Thanks!)

6. What influenced you? / What is your background?

My background is a bit eclectic. I studied molecular biology and contemporary art, and did my MFA in Interaction Design at SVA. I’ve lived in about five countries, which helped me see that there are many sides to an issue. I feel like I soak up everything around me and I’m inspired by a lot of things, from books to conversations to things I see everyday. I also worked as a journalist, so I’m used to asking a lot of questions. As an artist/designer, I can turn those questions into projects. 

7. What was your previous work like? 

My earlier work had to do with interactive projects about our senses. For example, I designed the Hug Vest, which changes color if you hug the wearer; an Olfactory Memoir which is a book of printed smell memories that you can smell; Rorsketch, an illustration project of drawing what I see in clouds, etc. I also started DrawHappy in Iceland a few years ago, which is a project about drawing your happiness. 

8. How can I support this project?

If you’d like to:

• collaborate on a project

buy an Apocalypse Patch to help fund the project

• invite me to speak in your school or organization to spread awareness of the project

• share your research on climate change so I can do another project based on your data

• model for one of my projects

• make a donation either in cash or in kind to help bring some projects to life (for example, I need help from a carpenter right about now) 

• just drop me a line to offer constructive critique or recommend books/movies/projects/people to check out

…I would be extremely grateful. 

9. Where are you now? / What’s next after this?

I’m in Manila working on five projects under The Apocalypse Project and I hope to have my first solo show this April. Check this site for updates. 

Climate Change Couture: The Apocalypse Evacuation Suit

Your Aromatherapeutic Ensemble for Disaster Preparedness





Earthquake. The sirens begin to ring, and once more, members of the Climate Change Rescue Squad rush to a nearby coastal area where a tsunami is supposed to hit within the next few hours. They calmly go past the panicked masses running for their lives to higher land with as many possessions as they could carry. Inside the village, the remaining people stumbling against the rubble were the elderly, the disabled, and the small children crying for family members lost in the chaos. To reduce their anxiety and make them more alert to the impending disaster, the rescue team distributes their spare Smell Masks, which filter the oxygen around them while giving them scented air to breathe. The oxygen is scented with lemon, lavender, or peppermint, depending on the victim’s needs.

It is just another day. 

Photos by: Catherine Young
Model: Dr. Matthias Berger
Shot on location at: BubbleZERO Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory
With grateful appreciation to:  Low Exergy Module of the Future Cities Laboratory, Dr. Matthias Mast

Climate Change Couture: The Thermoreflector

Your Heat Shield for Urban Exploration





Ready? Aaannnnddd go. The destination isn’t very far; it’s just on the other end of the street. And so the boss said not to take the motorbike. You step into the soft hot pavement, carefully making sure the contents of the box do not move around so much. But the street is an obstacle course. You see the air conditioning units sticking out of the apartments, each block of plastic hot enough to defrost a steak, and mentally you have a vision of darts coming out of them and targeting you like little snipers. Your dress reduces your discomfort; the sleeves protect your face and the fabric reflects the heat so that you won’t get roasted at the end of your journey. You finish the trip as quick as you can, and finally, you ring the doorbell. You deliver the pizza and leave. Man, you deserve a tip bigger than that. 

Photos by: Catherine Young
Model: Cheryl
Shot on location: Behind Circular Road, Singapore
With grateful appreciation to: Marcel Bruelisauer 

Climate Change Couture: The Bubble

Your Cocoon from the Elements



These days, no one leaves any establishment without wearing The Bubble, a climate controlled personal chamber that assures that climate change will not affect your daily lifestyle. While pumping you with cool filtered oxygen, The Bubble also comes with wireless communications to call your girlfriend and say that you are on your way, sensor capabilities that perceive the conditions of the environment around you, and wifi so you can check your Twitter feed while waiting. The Bubble. Coming soon to a mall near you. 

Photos by: Catherine Young
Model: Marcel 명철 Bruelisauer
Shot on location at: Future Cities Laboratory at Singapore’s CREATE  (Centre for Research and Technological Enterprise) Tower.
Additional design by: Yuqi Liew

Load more posts