Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Artist-Scientist pair: Fiona and Jen C.

Fiona and Jen C’s will be working together to bring to life their interpretation of humans impacting the environments natural ability to adapt to change, creating a new world.

There is little doubt that climate change and other human drivers are impacting our oceans, and natural systems globally. Moving sensitive and robust species alike, and ecosystems away from their capacity to absorb natural environmental disturbances.

As we load the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, we are harvesting wild populations for our own consumption, tearing down vast swathes of forest for agriculture and polluting waterways with our industrial and pharmaceutical waste. These impacts are imposing rapidly changing, conditions on the ecosystems we rely on. Together with the pressures mentioned above, the continuously changing nature of the global system is potentially pushing the planet toward a new, human induced “equilibrium state”. Ironically, this state might not support human life, at least not the life many of us are accustomed to. 

Heat content of the ocean from 1955-2010. On the rise. 

These changes can be seen quite dramatically in the oceans. As they absorbed carbon dioxide and heat from the atmosphere, they expand, heat up and become more acidic. The rate at which climate change is altering the physical ocean environment is having huge effects on the organisms that live there. Year on year there are record lows in Arctic ice cover, the oceans are experiencing more severe storms and reductions in the acidity of the oceans is making is very hard for certain organisms, like corals and some plankton, to grow. 
Climatic induced changes are happening fast and, because we have already degraded ecosystems with our other impacts, natural systems are finding hard to cope and we are seeing huge changes in the biology and ecology of the planets oceans.

A bleached coral reef 

Fiona and Jen C will produce a piece that centers on the idea of an altered environment, pushed to a point far beyond what might be considered natural.  They aim to Interpret what happens when humans interfere with the ebb and flow of nature, creating a “human equilibrium”. Fiona and Jen will be working with lace, distorted and disturbing its structure to symbolise the human impacts on delicate natural system. 

Fionas lace work.

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