“We are all bound up in one great natural system, an ecosystem of universal proportions in which no part is immune from the events and changes in the others” Arnold Berleant, Environmental Aesthetics, Oxford Art Online
Amazonia interrogates the inextricable links between environmental degradation and free market capitalism. During the 5 minute video threatened species and destroyed natural resources are juxtaposed with commodities, unequivocally and powerfully measuring the costs of recent economic development within the Amazon basin.
Regarded as the “lungs” of our planet by numerous climate scientists, the 5,500,000 square km Amazon rainforest is at present being agriculturally developed at an alarming rate, displacing numerous native people and animal species in the relentless pursuit of economic gain. Since 1978 the Amazon rainforest has been cleared of over 750,000+ square km of pristine rainforests and savannas*. Correspondingly, exports of soybean from internationally owned companies operating within the Amazon have increased from 7 million tons in 1975 to 53 million tons as at 2010. The exported soybean produced within the Amazon region is predominately used as livestock fodder in European and USA factory farms.
The work seeks to communicate the multifaceted ecological conundrum taking place within the Amazon region, by combining various “peer reviewed” data bases: the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the National Institute for Space Research, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Utilising an animated map to track annual developments, Amazonia visualizes environmental research on deforestation and threatened animal and plant species. The works narrative implores us to look upon the critical situation transpiring in the Amazon with renewed impetus by transposing one form of crisis upon another, reflecting not only the dire situation materializing within the region, but also the growing worldwide environmental conundrum.
Exhibition History for Amazonia:
[MARS] Gallery, 21 January – 8 February, 2015
Latrobe Regional Gallery, The Politics of Perception, 21 March – 24 May 2015