NERA DI VERZASCA AWARD 2016
After the Fire
After the Fire series was made after the devastation of wild fires in northern California last September 2015. The resulting work reflects a narrative revealing itself right now; referring to the conditions that define us as the Anthropocene generation. We are the ones who are changing the earth so radically that more damage has been done to the environment in recent years than any other time. Many believe this constitutes a new geological epoch as distinct from the Holocene.
Our negative influence will remain a major geological force, perhaps for millions of years to come. For those of us aware of this, there is a sense of living in two or more temporal scales simultaneously; a kind of ‘out of jointness’ provoked by Anthropocene awareness.
My work speaks of this ‘out of jointness’ and a sense of psychic or existential distress caused by extreme environmental change, both at a personal and global level. These fires coming after five years of extreme drought in California left the land savagely altered. The ensuing loss of solace and sense of self in relation to the land may have a profound effect on a community after environmental devastation such as this and has been suggested might bring on an emotional state known as ‘solastagia’; a kind of homesickness felt when one is still at home.
I was drawn to the community on Cobb Mountain, Lake County, California to make work at this moment of trauma as a visceral response to a landscape I know and love and to friends who live here. After the Fire is my personal response to the aftermath of such loss. It does not document my own history or land yet it expresses a heart felt desire to bear witness to these conditions and feelings of ‘solastagia’ and what it means to be part of the Anthropocene generation.