PLAYA, SUMMER LAKE, OR (1 MONTH)
For the second week of PLAYA Art & Science Residency I created a series of paintings inspired by walks on the playa, forming my own trails. Walks provided time for contemplation and exploration, resulting in miles of footprints across a bleak, muddy shore.
Footprints are a record of human interference on land. In my pursuit to seek out untouched nature, I (accidentally) disrupted its pristine state with my own two feet. I left my imprint. This got me thinking, is there anywhere left on Earth that does not have traces of humanity? And, why is it our tendency to traverse unharmed natural sites, as if claiming new territory for ourselves.
Humanity is being forever engraved into the lands in which we inhabit. Icebergs contains traces of oil extracted by man, while the deepest parts of the ocean are coated with our trash. A plane soars over the vast Amazon and a river washes up a tangled fishing line. We have no boundaries to our reach, extending our impact into near and distant places.
Conversations with fellow artists, writers, and scientists enhanced concepts for works, resulting a massive mind-map connecting systems that surround, interfere, and support life on Earth. Topics examine ecological systems relative to human progress and man-made systems. Humans are part of the web of life, but it increasingly feels like we are separate from it. We dominate it, breaking threads between resources and species that are interdependent.
We do not live in harmony with the natural world around us. Rather, we claim it as our own, taking more than we need and leaving a wake of disruption in our path. To further contemplate the links between nature and humanity, I made a series of sculptures merging organic material with one of our most disruptive and damaging materials: plastic.
This new series “Made of Plastic” combines plastic material to repair, replicate, add on and edit nature while simultaneously destroying it like a parasite of the modern era. The organic matter will eventually disappear and decompose while the plastic additions take centuries to disintegrate. The traces of humanity outlive nature and will even outlive us. Our trace, our imprint, is permanent here.