Climate change and covid-19 have compelled me to make art that is more accountable and to create community understandings of the impacts of everyday actions. Turning off the furnace and refusing to burn gas; hydrocarbons shipped from afar, I choose to heat with local wood and live with a lower carbon footprint. In the woodstove I make charcoal by including a container called a retort which allows organic matter to partially burn in an oxygen starved environment. Heat from the retort comes mainly from burning the components hydrogen and oxygen. Carbon is left that otherwise would burn or combine with oxygen, making CO2. Growing food locally, I use this biochar as a soil amendment which increases soil fertility and water retention. This effectively isolates carbon from the atmosphere, sinking it into the ground for many years. Making ink from charcoal also effectively holds carbon suspended. Creating an art work with this ink fixes carbon archiving it further into the future. These processes have been practiced around the world for thousands of years as methods of survival. From start to finish, the act of making this charcoal from locally sourced organic matter, is my direct connection to the land.
Through this work, and the conversations that spring from it, we can explore ways of making choices that are informed and conscious, and which can help to build a new paradigm.