Carbon Capture and Storage – drawing with soot on clear acrylic. 2019 – ongoing
The Recreation Fisher series of works are recent examples from my ongoing succession of environmentally dubious carbon capture and storage drawings. Made by applying candle soot onto the drawing surface, capturing carbon that would otherwise combine with oxygen in the combustion process to form carbon dioxide, these works highlight the fallacy of industrial carbon fixation by linking it to an impotent attempt to overcome the environmental impact of my art practice.
The works in this series depict various species of water bird nesting on inflatable devices initially intended for human recreation. In what kind of future climate altered world would these kitsch liferafts become a viable breeding environment? Is this a display of opportunistic adaption or have these inflatable nesting sites been distributed by remorseful humans as a surreal replacement for lost habitat?
Natural Selection Some time in the mid 1990’s I was walking near my home when a young boy rode past me on a bmx. Hanging from his handlebars was a Magic Tree (now known as Little Tree) car air freshener. I remember bursting into instant laughter at the absurdity of this encounter, at the implausible impact one small air freshener could have in an open space. Obviously infusing the world with a fresh pine scent was not the boys aim, especially as the Magic Tree was likely old, possibly discarded by an older family member. At that time embellishing your bike with found objects was not unusual, but this boy’s intervention has always stayed with me and inspired several artworks over the years. There is something in these little car air fresheners that represents our societies relationship to the natural world. Despite every aspect of these things being artificial their cliché tree form still attempts to link them to the natural world and the company’s bold insistence that the very first trees were inspired by the aromatic oils in Canadian Pine forests. The importance of this tree shape is exemplified by the company’s active litigation in protecting it as part of the product patent, however the continued use of this tree form in a product made exclusively for motor vehicles borders on the oxymoronic in a time of global warming. The Natural Selection series of soot drawings reference the incongruous relationships humans have with the natural world in the context of a changing climate.
Smoke and Mirrors When I observe clouds, I no longer just consider them in relation to the weather, I also think about how they are impacting on the planet’s climate. Currently climate scientists are debating how to integrate cloud systems into new climate modelling to accurately measure their influence on future global warming. It is a complex area of study where multiple variables such as the type of cloud formation, location, temperature and longevity all need to be taken into consideration. Put very simply, low bright clouds are generally considered to have a cooling effect as they reflect sunlight away from the Earth’s surface. High thin clouds composed of ice crystals are more transparent but do absorb outgoing infrared radiation of which a small amount is released back resulting in a warming effect. While this might appear straight forward enough the reality is much more complicated. For instance, different cloud formations can co-exist in multiple layers of the atmosphere. Additionally, clouds that are warmer contain a higher ratio of water molecules to ice molecules making them more reflective. Warmer clouds also release less rain than cool clouds which extends their lifespan and corresponding ability to reflect heat away from the planet.