The Sea We Make/Lamer Nou Fer + Seeded
Performance, 4 archival pigment prints, HD video installation, 51 minutes, 2 takeaways, 2012-17
This series of projects generates aesthetic experiences to bear witness to shifts caused by climate change. The projects began from a consideration to the failing lagoon ecology that surrounds the African island of Mauritius as an indicator of grave impacts. Ocean acidification and other environmental factors are rapidly destroying the corals, which is the basis of the lagoon ecosystem. These impacts are primarily caused by the overuse of fossil fuels, of which the US is one of the greatest contributors.
Since the inception of this project, I worked closely with local activist Stefan Gua. With his help, I conducted interviews, collected and produced imagery and generated partnerships with local and international experts to garner better understanding. I also worked the Le Morne Heritage Trust whose staff was able to connect me with the local and more historically grounded methods of fishing from the Southern areas of the island.
This investigation led me to consider the effects of climate change in my home region of the Champlain Islands. In Vermont, ice-fishing was adapted from indigenous people surviving winter. Today climate shifts are affecting ice thickness in Vermont, resulting in shortened fishing seasons and loss of human life as people continue to fish.
To consider this complex conundrum, I produced 3 distinct works. First, I produced a video installation entitled Lamer Nou Fer/The Sea We Make. This immersive work takes the artisanal fishing communities in Mauritius and Vermont as its subject matter. This work visually valorizes struggles to thrive in the anthropocene.
Second, I produced a performance work entitled Seeded. On the coast of Mauritius, I planted 35 mangrove trees as a symbolic act against climate change. Mangroves are known for their high CO2 absorption abilities and symbiotic relationship to coral and juvenile fish.
Thirdly, for my piece Dear Representative, I produced a series of takeaway cards combining images and text from Lamer Nou Fer and Seeded. Sending out these cards, I created a letter writing campaign, directed at the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. In exchange for these artworks, I was asking them to support climate change legislation, as the US is currently the second highest consumer of fossil fuels in the world. These cards were also available for audience members to take home from exhibitions.
This work was produced for the transnational exhibition project entitled Ephemeral Coast, curated by Celina Jeffery PhD. Lamer Nou Fer was exhibited during Edge Effects in Mauritius in July 2016, during the same time frame in which Seeded was performed. Images from Seeded and aspects of Dear Representative were on display in May 2017 at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Wales.