Our relationship to the world we live in has changed exponentially and rapidly. Nature, once bigger than humanity, is now a tool, a resource, an infected organism and a fragmented system. Buy it, sell it, use it. We alter genetic codes, shape the climate, patent genes, change the course of evolution and create artificial life. We wipe out entire species and ecosystems and turn the ramifications into political arguments. Basically, we shit where we eat. The idea of “nature” as a broad, controlling and creative force in the universe seems quaint and secondary. To contemplate nature in this era is to examine its qualities and possibilities: its patterns and symmetry, its randomness, fragility, and interconnectedness, its unavoidability, its potential.
I love science for its endeavor to understand the fundamentals of things. I am a tinkerer and an experimenter, and I approach art in the same mind frame. In the process of creating I am taking things apart and examining, trying to get at their essence, exploring their fundamentals and the relationships of the parts. I believe that there really is a universe in a grain of sand, and the simplest aspects of our existence that we most take for granted are often the most intricate and fascinating.
We are made of the same carbon as the carbon in the natural system. The hydrogen and oxygen molecules in my blood were once part of the rain and the oceans. I am in awe of what we have achieved by learning to manipulate the system to our ends, and I find nature’s methods of adaptation fascinating. I also feel a tension between the elegance of our natural system, millennia in the making, and our shortsightedness in obliterating it. There are few lawmakers who understand how delicate the balancing act of nature is. I don’t think there is a way for an individual to not be part of the problem. Its momentum seems insurmountable. Inevitable. Even if only in ways minutely visible at first, small permutations are caused, the system’s titration point is eventually and unexpectedly reached, and boom – an obvious, large, baffling, ugly truth blocks our ability to ignore. It is becoming more and more frequent and unavoidable.
Biology, though, adapts. It mutates and continues. Something dies; something else that can tolerate the new conditions takes its place. I turn my focus to the smaller elements – something sprouting, growing, encrusting, in essence persevering. Through this series I am groping for understanding, or expression, or I am mourning, or celebrating, or all of those things.