By defining a new geological epoch as the Anthropocene, scientists are declaring that the impact of our activities is global and irreversible. The awareness of this state of play underpins my thoughts, process and choice of materials in this series.
Coral Seas is a contemplation on the bleaching of coral reefs: a major scientific sign of climate change. I conducted field research on Orpheus Island in September 2016 as a volunteer researcher to witness a coral spawning event. I studied the mutualistic relationship between the algae and the corals, where each organism derives benefit from the relationship. I also witnessed coral bleaching events which bear deadly witness to the upset balance within our carbon cycle due to ocean acidification and warming.
I selected the industrial materials carbon and oil to create the series. Both wax and timber hold the potential for burning; each transform through fire, signifying volatile elemental potential. The destructive process becomes an elemental ritual firing for me, a satirical emulation of western cultural addiction to fossil fuel combustion.
The circular format alludes to microscopic as well as planetary-scaled worlds. Each work carries the marks of systems with entropic carbon overload; each suggests water level rise and glacial melting. Wax brings a carnality to the bare, burned timbers, settling into the carved crevices and covering the flat areas like skin. In its fleshiness, the wax promotes anthropogenic embodied connections to the bleaching reef.