Archive for December, 2017
December 02, 2017

My new series is coming along well. I am interested in landscapes which relate to three general process: access points (e.g. road/trail/river), secondary succession (e.g. …

Art and/as Process – Biodiversity residencies (part8)

Tags: , , , ,

    Woke up with first day light. There was one fat mosquito trapped inside with me inside the net that surrounded my bed. The owner of the surf shop across from the hostel was already busy waxwing boards for rent as I walked barefoot and in my swimming trunks to the beach. Less than a block later I reached the 30 meter or so stretch of sand pummelled relentlessly by the surf. The beach was already bustling with people who arrived on the early morning buses so I made my way towards a stream outlet that cut through the sand and into the Ocean to get away from the crowd.

Surf shop at night watercolour

     After a mush up stretch routine I started to run north towards the cliffs. Depending on where the tide was at the time, I could make my way around the bend to a hidden beach and circle back. The depth of the water was a fun variant.  Running back and past the town I would zigzag through families setting up on the sand. Within two minutes the town was behind me with only individual vacant resorts dotting the beach. I liked running by them, each with its own private setup disheveled by the elements and frequented only by the maintenance staff. Aiming at a distant land mark like a washed up tree log or a fishing boat I would then try to push past it, ending the run by diving into the ocean. After a fun but futile attempt at swimming against its current, which only pushed me further south, getting out invigorated and salty I would briefly stretch, meditate and slowly make my way back to take a shower.

Canoa river outlet, (looking south) Photo by: Jana Van Hoof

     About an hour would have passed by now and it was time for breakfast as the rumbling in my stomach emphasized. Having not shopped yet for food I decided to treat myself to a light meal at the El Jardin hostel (two eggs, toast, salad and coffee.)  Sitting at a table in front I ate while watching the early morning pedestrian traffic of suffers and beach goers dotted by the occasional local person delivering goods or going to work.

     Now that I was here in Canoa I was especially looking forward to finally sinking my teeth into Naomi Klein’s new book “This changes everything” as much as the local ceviche. I have been a big fan of her research and writing since reading “No Logo” way back in high school. It was the perfect book at the time to provide perspective on the insane level of materialism and advertising I found myself surrounded by as teenage immigrant from Poland searching for an identity.  It introduced me to globalism, and just how manipulative and corrupt a lot of the companies I looked up to at the time really were. Even more importantly it made me think about how things were interconnected. It made me think about where materials were extracted, how/who benefited and who got exploited. Suddenly the world was a lot more complex and I wanted to know more about it.

    Having spent 2014/15 reading scientific journals and books related to environmental issues I was out here trying to put things in context and find a way to fit my interests within these broad set of issues. While at Un poco del Chocó I was distracted by the stimulating atmosphere and the unique content of its own library and the books other researchers brought with them, like “Do Hummingbirds Hum?” by George C. West and Carol A. Butler, so I didn’t get a chance to read “This Changes Everything.” Now that I had a clearer idea where I was going to be focusing on with my art work I was ready to sink my teeth into how Naomi Klein laid out the broad spectrum of issues related to human caused climate change.  Thirteen pages into the book I came across a prediction that a “Four degrees of warming could raise global sea levels by 1 or possibly even 2 meters” overwhelming many coastal areas.  It felt a bit surreal as I was then having breakfast in a place that within a few decades might be underwater. I tried to imagine the place with only the cliffs remaining, lower in stature and eroding quicker.  It got me thinking about their relationship to the town and the town’s relationship to them, to the surrounding area and country. The juxtaposition of nature and human settlement, both existing in the same space yet on a much different tempo, changing at different rates; the tortes and the hare.

     The next ten days would prove to be very relaxing and fruitful in terms of experiences and ideas. By looking closer at human settlements I added a new category of interest to my artistic pursuit of looking at change and what is happening with climate.

untitled (still) life, part of ongoing series