The Cooling Solution

The Cooling Solution

A scientific project that uses photography to investigate how people of different socio-economic backgrounds around the world adapt to high temperatures and humidity

Venice | Started on 19/05/2023 – Concluded on 31/07/2023

Beginning with the title, the term solution is meant to call the current adaptation paradigm into question. The project examines the phenomenon of rising AC demand in its various facets, addressing its numerous shortcomings and drawbacks, as well as the reasons underlying its use, which are often related to the necessity of protecting the most fragile members of society from health hazards.

The Cooling Solution combines scientific research, photography, and storytelling to investigate people’s lived experiences as they deal with thermal discomfort in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Italy. The project brings together the scientific results of the 5-year-long European research project ENERGYA with personal stories about everyday strategies to cope with heat, as influenced by socioeconomic conditions, demographics, urbanization, and culture. The goal is to use photography’s communicative power to make academic knowledge accessible to the wider public.It is now clear that the era of energy-intensive material comfort must come to an end. What is perhaps less clear is that sacrificing this way of living doesn’t mean sacrificing thermal comfort, a concept whose parameters are determined not only by climate, but also by habits, culture, and society.

This exhibition is a journey through human experiences in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Italy that focuses on cases of hyper cooling, heat dumping, lack of cooling, traditional cooling and cutting-edge technologies. While these countries, however different, are following a similar trend driving them towards a homogenized notion of thermal comfort, The Cooling Solution also examines vernacular architecture, alternative cooling methods, innovation, and dedicated research efforts. No doubt we will live on a warmer planet, and no doubt AC can and will save lives. However, there is also a great richness in the diversity of cooling methods available that are waiting to be re-discovered, re-visited, and scaled-up.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.