Puncher & Wattmann
Turbulence: Climate Change and the Design of Complexity
by Paul Carter
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Complex issues, like climate change, defy simple presentation and simplistic response. But their worst enemy, according to Turbulence, is a fear of complexity. Paul Carter argues that publicly-funded research cultures and their sponsors contribute to this problem when they treat complexity as a threat to communication. The result is often simplistic fictions. The phenomenon of turbulence, Carter argues, is common to natural and human systems: it defines a multi-actor decisionmaking culture where feedback constantly modifies the research direction. Only when climate change is culturally internalised as an expression of human, as well as environmental, complexity can human and non-human interests elide. Creativity, the ceaseless quest for change, recovers its ethical dimension when it understands climate change in relation to the future of the public realm. Carter’s account of a ten-year climate change creative research project, ‘Hamlet’s Mill’, is a vehicle for this argument. It is also a challenge to our research cultures to understand the feedback at the heart of knowledge formation and to design their research programs differently.