Extractions | July 2019 | Solo Exhibition | Makers Loft | Iowa City, IA
"From darkness to light, coal is extracted forcibly. Many times, human lungs absorb that force. The majority of coal mined now was formed 300 million years ago. Composed mostly of carbon and hydrocarbons - the remains of life forms compressed - this sedimentary rock is the largest source of electricity-generating energy on the planet. Though mining processes vary in environmental severity, all forms of coal extraction are dramatic and ecologically destabilizing. As beings of this earth, we feel the epochal weight of extraction in every breath. Particulate matter must be filtered and scrubbed from our every inhalation via tiny (or maybe not so tiny, depending on who you are) nose hairs, mucus, and cilia before reaching the lungs. However, these biological bodyguards struggle to separate larger percentages of particulates from breathable air. Lungs in and of themselves are porous sponge-like sifters, tasked with separating oxygen from other air ingredients and then filtering carbon dioxide from our bodies with each exhalation. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution is responsible for as many as 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, and that roughly 91 percent of the human population lives in places with unsafe air quality. This series consists of 91 lung-like abstractions, constructed of plaster-covered paper face masks and sculpted canvas. This lung-like form is constructed of a paper face mask and sculpted canvas and pigmented with metallic acrylic, spray paint, and water color. Not-so-clean-air fact: global carbon emissions eclipsed previous measurements last year, a 2.7 percent increase since 2017 For millennia, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations never exceeded 300 parts per million. Now estimated to be nearly 415 parts per million, carbon dioxide concentrations will continue to increase if no action is taken. Why does this matter? The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet. The warmer the planet, the weirder the weather. The weirder the weather, the harder it is to grow crops, provide adequate water, and shelter people. Further Resources: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report Houghton, John. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2014. Streeby, Shelley. Imagining the Future of Climate Change: World-Making Through Science Fiction and Activism. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018. Taylor, Dorceta E. Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution and Residential Mobility. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Washington, Harriet A. A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2019. Zimring, Carl A. Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States.New York: New York University Press, 2015."