Cataloguing Carbon’ is research through making. I explore through acts of foraging, collecting, collating, layering, folding and binding plant based materials. This research sits amongst a broader investigation into pyrolysis, transformation and sacred carbon connection.

Bound to Nature: Cataloguing Carbon

I’m exploring the energy, transformations and ephemerality of Carbon based material. This new carbon language shifts the carbon paradigm from that of extraction, exploitation and dirty energy to a reverential relationship to carbon that becomes sacred. I uncover new experiences of carbon through the elemental;  processing material using pyrolysis and the embodied acts of repetition, manipulation, accumulation and sacrifice.

I discover through making alongside acts of foraging, collecting, collating, layering, folding and binding plant based materials. I research the notions of native and invasive. I explore the plant material’s local, social, historic and biological significance. I use their compelling agency as creative material and their narratives to feel my way through processes that emulate and distill the materials cyclical energy. The carbon is often returned to the earth, regenerative and purifying burial, as energy stored as catalyst for future life.

My research style is none linear. It is artistic research that is a far reaching web, yet intrinsically connected to Carbon as material. This research allows for a different way of relating to materials. Reality can be interpreted through layered connections to phenomena and process. It reveals multiple meanings whilst stimulating our imagination and a shifted awareness of transformative materials like Carbon. It is vital that I use a method that is open, physical, malleable & questioning. I hope, at its best, it can be a reciprocal process.

Carbon Connection: Time, Waste & Repetition

Simultaneously I’m working on ‘Carbon Connection: Time, Waste & Repetition’. In this project  I use waste paper that had a previous life protecting manufactured or monoculture produce. I methodically process materials by hand. I measure, cut, fold and construct multiples. The work expands through a devotional but often strained relationship to time, energy, labour and repetition. I turn waste material into forms of sculpture that are at the same time vulnerable and enduring.

I want to move this research forward after collaborating with I commissioned them on my first public art commission for Artscape during COP26 in 2019. I got to briefly use an Exeter Biochar Retort to make carbon for a temporary land intervention. The magic of this modern approach to a 2,000 year-old practice had me captivated. It is normally used in agriculture to convert biomass materials into a soil enhancer that stores carbon for hundreds of years. It is a far greener process and reduces carbon emissions significantly. By using a modern retort I could test carbon materials, improve sculptural construction methods and become technically skilled in using the latest processing equipment. There is great potential in captivating the public with the much larger, dynamic and ephemeral carbon sculpture that could also be left to return carbon to the landscape.

I’m exploring performance as a method to reanimate carbon’s embodied energy. I am experimenting with ways to capture this with photography, film, public performance and interactive artworks.

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