Artist captures how humans are reshaping the planet – BBC News

Artist captures how humans are reshaping the planet – BBC News

As an artist I’m bearing witness to these places, these very surreal and unfamiliar worlds that exist to be able to create the conditions that we call contemporary life. I travel the world, and have been travelling
the world for over 40 years, looking at how we as humans are reshaping our planet, extractive industries like mining, quarries, deforestation, and trying to capture them within single frames and also now within motion picture to try to tell the story about how we as humans, the dominant species of the planet, are reshaping the planet. Concrete’s not found in nature, but it’s the number one ‘technofossil’. It’s the number one thing that
we’re leaving behind that future civilisation can find. They would say: ‘Aha, we are in the anthropocene, the period of humans.’ Plastics is another thing that we create that nature does not create. But we’ve also done positive stories like I did a whole shoot on some of the purest and most biodiverse coral in the whole world off of Komodo Island in Indonesia, [we] also looked at some of the diversity in the forests in Canada. Then there were the tusks of
ten thousand elephants that were burned on one day to send a signal to poachers. What I think art can do is say: ‘Look, here it is, this is what it looks like. We’re all part of this landscape. We all partake of the things from this landscape.’ And a lot of times people say: ‘Why are you showing these disasters in such an aesthetic way?’ And I’m saying: ‘These aren’t disasters, This is business as usual.’ This is the world that we have created, that so far we need to provide for the number of people that are here on the planet today. In the eighties when I started it, I think a lot of people were
wondering, you know, why, and what is it that I’m doing, and why am I treating this as a subject for art? But now, in the last decade, the conversation has stepped up. As we start seeing more and more evidence of climate change, more and more people are recognising that this is something that is being brought on by human activity. I do believe that people are getting it. My hope is that as people become far more aware and start changing their own behaviour so will go governments and so will go corporations. I don’t see myself as an
environmentalist per se, I’ve never taken a course on the environment, I didn’t study it at school. I’d rather see the images that I make as points of departure for a more complex conversation about so now that we’re here, what do we do? It’s a different way to engage with the problem without saying, you know, ‘you’re good and you’re bad’. But it’s like: ‘We’re all in this together.’

local_offerevent_note November 5, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


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