There is Nothing Accidental or Surprising About This is a long term artwork that uses tree rings to record the human activity and changes to climate as a living memento mori, a memorial, a monument to this radical and rapacious Anthropocene.
Over the course of three years the artist will consciously falsify the records of tree ring growth in young pine trees, including one Wollemi Pine, by manipulating their climatic and environmental conditions to reflect those of the Great Dying – the greatest extinction event in Earth’s history. The pine will also be symbolically exposed to spoken discourses about climate change.
Wollemi Pine is a native pine that was thought extinct until 1994 when they were discovered in a National Park in NSW. There are only one hundred pines left in natural habitats. They are living fossils. Teetering on the brink of extinction, these trees have borne witness to the changes in climate for two hundred million years.
Over the first three years of this project Emily will live with the pines in a simulacrum of the Great Dying era, whilst engaging with the climate debate. A series of works document the pines: video, image, performance and talks, are created, before the trees are permanently planted and left to record the actual climate conditions of Adelaide. As an out-of-place species in South Australia, these pines will track the passage of time by their growth rings and form part of a century/millennia long performance… or succumb to the heat.
Emily Parsons-Lord is a Sydney based cross-disciplinary artist whose practice is informed by research and dialogue with materials and climate science. There is nothing accidental or surprising about this is a continuation of an investigation into material understandings of air, as well as the cultural expectation of the immateriality of air. Exploring air as both a physical material, as well as an amorphous subconscious, or bridge to a netherworld, her work queries the cultural understanding of Anthropocenic changes to s in the environment: “Anthropo(s)cenery”.
Parsons-Lord’s recent work includes recreating the air from past eras in Earth’s evolution, looking for the visible in the invisibility of air, exploring ‘voids’ with silica aerogel materials, and recreating starlight and human connection in smoke. Parsons-Lord has exhibited at Underbelly Arts 2015, Proximity Festival 2014/2015, Perth Centre of Photography, This is Not Art, Firstdraft, amongst others, and will undertake an Ars Bioarctica residency in northern Finland in 2016.