‘matter resolves itself into numberless vibrations, all linked together in uninterrupted continuity, all bound up with each other, and traveling in every direction like shivers’
As my official residency period ends I have been reflecting on the experiences and relationships walking in this space have given me.
December and January were months of heavy skies, often still with smells and sound hanging with the cloud over the ponds. Everything feels soft and quiet – the moss is in deep winter slumber.
There are several threads, which have been developing over this year of walking, the recording of colour, the overnight UV cyanotypes, the recording of peat levels, and the creation of a cloud archive. These observations have given me a new insight into this unique landscape; it feels like a privilege to have had the time and opportunity to share these rhythms and cycles.
Donna, Sarah and I have continued our conversations, walking and making remotely, connected through carbon and wetland ecology.
The first of our propositions to weave these thoughts together was accepted to the Carbon Border Voices project:
Carbon Synthesis: Archive of Species, examines deep time and its human/non-human connection through carbon. Καιρός (Kairos) is a Greek word meaning Time (Ancient Greek) and Weather (Modern Greek) specific to surroundings and yet revealed in fleeting experiences. As global climatic systems reach tipping points, how much can the chemistry in the air and below the surface tell us about climate conditions? Conversational exchanges inform each artist’s creative response, inviting encounters to reimagine and challenge existing notions of climate change.
Each artist investigates Καιρός in relation to their own practice, weaving together through making and response.
How to Hold A Cloud in your Hand was created as a direct response to my time on Little Woolden Moss. Recent research and climate models have shown an uncertain behaviour of clouds. In some climate models, clouds strongly amplify warming. In others they have a neutral effect or dampen warming slightly. To avoid exceeding a certain level of global warming, the world needs to limit how much carbon is emitted.
Global warming is expected to cause changes in the amount of cloud cover, the height and thickness of the clouds, shifting the balance between the effectiveness of the cloud feedback.
Aerosol particles are critical for cloud formation, and different types affect how the clouds will behave. For example, when CO2 levels rise, some low-lying clouds become unstable and break up. When these clouds break up, they no longer shade the Earth’s surface, triggering accelerated global warming.
So in response to this research I began a cloud archive, collected during walking journeys, my clouds are drawn at a scale relative to what I see and can imagine holding in my hand. The measurement reflecting the presence of my own body as it moves through the landscape.
These hand-held clouds are drawn using ink created using carbon powder; the carbon is mixed with water and applied to a film surface. The suspended carbon acts as a seed to create the liquid cloud. As the water evaporates the carbon is laid down as a trace of its suspended state. If the day is warm, the evaporation is swift and the drawing is gestural and dark, if the day is cooler the suspended carbon has time to settle in gentle reticulations, affected by subtle wind and movements in the atmosphere.
The clouds become a trace of the day’s environmental conditions as well as a record of the time taken to seed the imaginary clouds themselves. Aesthetics, material interactions and καιρός intertwine with current thinking around geo-engineering, imagination, and scientific manipulation of atmospheric rhythms, to create this durational series of works. The resulting archive is a provocation to consider a future re-imagining of our skies without clouds, a planet devoid of a protective membrane.
You can see and read the full proposal here – – https://www.carbon-borders-voices.com/franklin-hill-robinson
We will continue to develop our thoughts and artworks over the coming months,
Sharing our journeys as we go.
I will continue to visit Little Woolden Moss observing its unique rhythms and markers of life.
I would like to thank LWT, City of Trees and all the amazing individuals who have taken the time to share their insights and knowledge and for the opportunity to spend so much time learning to see what is often invisible.
‘Seeing the world as mere object implies its exploitation: seeing it, or feeling it, as a mirror of the self is more or less an ecological position, may imply a sense of caring and of living in relation to rather than exerting power over worlds’.