SOLASTALGIA

solastalgia

(2017-)

media: installation, painting, performance

concepts: place, culture, society

Solastalgia refers to existential distress caused by environmental change, particularly in a place with historical or cultural value to the individual.

The term was coined by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2005:

I define solastalgia as the pain or distress caused by the ongoing loss of solace and the sense of desolation connected to the present state of one's home and territory. It is the existential and lived experience of negative environmental change, manifest as an attack on one's sense of place.

Glenn Albrecht, Earth Emotions, p38

This series of work began in 2017, and was based on project Floating Islands and Places and Non-places.

reading

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation, 183x187x80cm

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter

-Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea, p86

Life works with life to further life. That is now the philosophical and scientific basis for how we can think about everything else. We must abandon the ‘environment’ which does nothing but perpetuate our separation.

-Glenn Albrecht, The Symbioment, p27

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation

A mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June-August 2019.

A mixed media interactive installation, the repeated refrains of nature

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation

A mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June-August 2019.

A mixed media interactive installation, the repeated refrains of nature

introduction

The interactive digital artwork The Repeated Refrains of Nature by Shane Finan was exhibited in the Auk Room, Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, from June 26th to August 31st 2019. The artwork explores the role of people and technology in bird depopulation. Supported by Trinity College Dublin Visual and Performing Arts Fund.

background

In 1962, scientist Rachel Carson published her magnum opus, Silent Spring. In this book, she documents over ten years of research on the effects of pesticides on the soil and animal life in the USA and Europe. The book focuses on the decline of bird life in areas where pesticides were widely used. Through this research, Carson began the early conversation on ecology, and preceded the idea of the ‘Anthropocene’, now a common term in journals and newspapers. The term refers to the era when human beings began to change the environment that we operate in, primarily through large-scale industry.

From the year 2000, the decline in bird populations has been tracked by scientists across the globe, particularly in Europe where ecology is long established. The declines occur in both sea and land birds. These declines are equated to different factors: the loss of food-stuffs (insects, fish, meadows), changes in temperature and climate, and loss of areas of habitat. Most of the detrimental effects on bird populations have been found to have human causes, from the continued use of pesticides, to over-fishing, to single-crop farming.

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation

A mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June-August 2019. Image shows a goldfinch flying away, video still from one of the video pieces.

A mixed media interactive installation, the repeated refrains of nature

artwork

The Repeated Refrains of Nature is an artwork created in 2019 by visual artist and researcher Shane Finan. The artwork takes its name from a quote by Rachel Carson from her book, The Edge of the Sea: ‘There is something infinitely healing in these repeated refrains of nature, the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.’ The Repeated Refrains of Nature is an interactive digital artwork that uses six video monitors to show videos of common garden birds feeding, presented much like a security control room multi-monitor setup. When a person enters the room, the birds fly off screen, leaving empty feeders.

The artwork invites visitors to consider the human role on bird depopulation, exhibited among the extinct and endangered birds on show at the Trinity College Dublin Zoological Museum. Placed as it is, among other bird and animal species, the audience are asked to consider what a world without birds would be like. By remaining motionless, the birds may reappear, suggesting that reducing human action can also reduce the loss of species populations. Technology holds the artwork together as both monitor and controller.

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation

A mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June-August 2019. Image shows a coal tit flying away, video still from one of the video pieces.

A mixed media interactive installation, the repeated refrains of nature

concept

Beginning with the concept of bird depopulation, The Repeated Refrains of Nature aims to ask the audience to consider factors such as their own behaviour and movement as part of the collectiv effect of bird depopulation. Mimicking the sensation of scaring away birds, the piece imitates natural environmental behaviour of birds' inherent fear of people.

Adding to this, the role of technology (sensors and screens) introduces the idea first of surveillance (the setup of screens in a multi-monitor setting akin to a security room) and second of sensors (motion sensors triggering the birds' behaviours). Contemporary technology is the biggest draw on electrical energy today; electrical energy generation has the biggest environmental impact internationally. Linking technology, human roles, and bird population is the central goal of this artwork.

the repeated refrains of nature

6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media installation

A mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June-August 2019.

A mixed media interactive installation, the repeated refrains of nature

press

scss trinity college

trinity college news review

Supported by Trinity College Dublin Visual and Performing Arts Fund

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kratos

degrading painting installations, dimensions variable

Rule by the people (demos) has become corrupted by rule (kratos) by the powerful (oligarchy or plutocracy)...We must rapidly exit The Anthropocene with its non-sustainability, perverse resilience, authoritarianism and its corrumpalism.

-Glenn Albrecht, Exiting The Anthropocene and Entering The Symbiocene

kratos 1

degradable painting installation, acrylic on MDF, dimensions variable

This is a series of painting installations that are designed to degrade over time, depicting imagery of 'scarred' landscapes that have been altered by large-scale human mining or industrial activity. Kratos 1 depicts a landscape in Malargue, Argentina, where an oil derrick appears as central on a desert landscape.

degradable painting installation kratos 1, the first of the kratos artworks

This series of paintings are designed to degrade over time when left outside over a long period of time. Mould and moss are intended to grow through the MDF boards that support the paintings, and warping should occur over time. The works are built to be kept in outdoor areas, exosed to the elements.

kratos 1

degradable painting installation, acrylic on MDF, dimensions variable

This is a series of painting installations that are designed to degrade over time, depicting imagery of 'scarred' landscapes that have been altered by large-scale human mining or industrial activity. Kratos 1 depicts a landscape in Malargue, Argentina, where an oil derrick appears as central on a desert landscape.

degradable painting installation kratos 1, the first of the kratos artworks

kratos 1

degradable painting installation, acrylic on MDF, dimensions variable

This is a series of painting installations that are designed to degrade over time, depicting imagery of 'scarred' landscapes that have been altered by large-scale human mining or industrial activity. Kratos 1 depicts a landscape in Malargue, Argentina, where an oil derrick appears as central on a desert landscape.

degradable painting installation kratos 1, the first of the kratos artworks

kratos 1

degradable painting installation, acrylic on MDF, dimensions variable

This is a series of painting installations that are designed to degrade over time, depicting imagery of 'scarred' landscapes that have been altered by large-scale human mining or industrial activity. Kratos 1 depicts a landscape in Malargue, Argentina, where an oil derrick appears as central on a desert landscape.

degradable painting installation kratos 1, the first of the kratos artworks

This series is ongoing from 2019 and has not been exhibited to date.

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beyond the black stump

painting and performance, 920x300cm

A live painting performance piece asking audience and artist to create a 'place' on the wall of Charlestown Arts Centre that will later be removed, emulating how people together both create, and can later destroy community.

Curated by Louise Spokes, the project was based on an open call responding to the 1968 book No One Shouted Stop by journalist John Healy, which documents the loss of community in the rural Irish town of Charlestown in County Mayo in the 1960s.

beyond the black stump

painting and performance

A 2-day painting and performance event where the community of Charlestown, Co. Mayo, Ireland, were invited to create their own place in Charlestown Arts Centre, and then see it disappear.

Funded by Charlestown Arts Centre and Culture Night 2017.

painting performance beyond the black stump on location in charlestown arts centre

beyond the black stump

painting and performance

A 2-day painting and performance event where the community of Charlestown, Co. Mayo, Ireland, were invited to create their own place in Charlestown Arts Centre, and then see it disappear.

Funded by Charlestown Arts Centre and Culture Night 2017.

painting performance beyond the black stump on location in charlestown arts centre

beyond the black stump

painting and performance

A 2-day painting and performance event where the community of Charlestown, Co. Mayo, Ireland, were invited to create their own place in Charlestown Arts Centre, and then see it disappear.

Funded by Charlestown Arts Centre and Culture Night 2017.

painting performance beyond the black stump on location in charlestown arts centre

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