A Nigerian digital poet, novelist, playwright Joseph Yohanna Aliya creates a visceral and timely piece of electronic-literature in Climatophosis. Aliya won the Janusz Korczak Prize for Global South 2020 and is a Graduate Assistant at the University of Calabar and an M.A. French student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Waliya writes in both English and French.
Climatophosis is about climate change and its worsening affects on the planet. Aliya was inspired to write this piece of electronic-literature after noticing how climate change has impacted Nigeria. Aliya noticed how rainfall in Nigeria has decreased over the years, negatively affecting crops and other resources.
The title of the piece is captivating. In the description section of his work, Waliya writes “Climatophosis is inspired by the current climatic change in the world. In fact, the title of the poem is coined from Climate and metamorphosis.”.
Waliya uses his poetic talents to convey his disappointment in humanity. He exposes the truth that humanity is to blame for climate change. Waliya personifies nature, “people fill me with plastic, change my temperature and currents, and kill my living things”, taken from the poem.
The visual layout features stacked moving images of weather patterns moving across the entire world map. Vivid colours are used. Fiery reds and burnt oranges are meant to illustrate the growing heat waves on the planet, spreading like a disease. The text moves in a similar way, meant to mimic weather patterns. The overall interface zooms in and out in a pulsatile manner.
There is a bright white circle with beams of light gleaming off it, placed mysteriously in the middle of one of the stacked world maps. There is no direct explanation for why it is there, yet it appears to be hopeful, like a gleaming sun, or hope for an energy source for humanity, that does not destroy the planet.
Waliya’s graphics are powerful, though perhaps his most impactful skill is his writing. “Humanity is a problem to itself” referring to humans, Waliya states “They have learned to take but not to give to their environment.”.
Climatophosis is impactful as it works as a beautiful creative electronic-literature piece as well as serving as a powerful social message. Waliya’s warning is timely and universal.
One can tell that Waliya is passionate about his craft. He made a short introductory video that can be found on another website. Spoken in French, and recorded in his home country of Nigeria. Waliya introduces Climatophosis. It is also evident that Waliya is also passionate about climate change.
Overall, Climatophosis is a riveting work which does not hold back; “The glaciers melt”, “the sun scorches”, Waliya writes. Yet there is hope it is not too late.
"This entry was composed as a part of Professor Dani Spinosa's, Digital Adventures in English class, at Trent University in February 2022."