Kauri Carbon Forest
15 NOV. - 18 NOV. 2016
Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, Auckland, NZ
"Relational aesthetics is ‘not any style, theme or iconography’, but ‘the fact of operating within... the sphere of inter-human relations’. ‘Relational aesthetics’ is a theory of the emphatically social constitution of contemporary art " - Bourriad, p. 43 (1).
Kauri carbon forest is an interactive installation comprised of 41 Kauri saplings, 2.73 tonnes of CO2, a U.V grow light, a clipboard, piece of paper and a pen. This forest was planted by 41 different people in a collective effort to offset my personal carbon emissions from the year 2016 to 2017. This project seeks to explore ways in which the conventions of relational aesthetics or social art forms can be instrumented as a way to investigate political or environmentally conscious art and ideas, partially due to its potential to serve as a catalyst for interrelations to form between people within the context of the work and inspire collective change.
My activities on the planet from 2016-2017 produced approximately 2.73 tonnes of CO2. While calculating this, I considered what type of electricity I used in my home, my diet, whether the products I consumed were imported or locally produced, my air and car travel, the size of the engine in my vehicle, etc.
I selected the Kauri tree for this project as it's native to Aotearoa, New Zealand and thrives in the North Island. It is also illegal to cut down a Kauri without permission. 41 trees were required to offset 2.73 tonnes of CO2.
Audience members were invited to take a Kauri sapling and plant it at a location of their choosing on my behalf.
(1) Bourriaud, N. (2002). Relational aesthetics. Paris, France: Les Presses du réel.
Images courtesy of the artist.