04 May 2009 TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
The archive is an artwork, but given its running time of 18.5 hours it is unavoidably not as accessible as I would wish; hence my desire to show its scope and essence through video installations. Since March last year I have been exchanging emails with John Caddy, a marvelous poet and photographer who lives near Forest Lake in Minnesota and runs the Morning Earth website. He is profoundly into biodiversity, which he celebrates with a daily photograph and poem emailed to subscribers worldwide. I acknowledged his, in my experience, unparalleled work and unburdened myself to him in an email today, bemoaning the fact that I found that none of the art administrators and hardly any artist in the art and ecology movement as I have encountered it, appear to be onto biodiversity. They are either too urbanized, too interventionist or too limited in their approach to nature to take on biodiversity.
I pointed out that to make biodiversity an artwork requires above all a recognition of what constitutes a life form, plus an openness to the minutest detail, such as his photo of the track of a grub in bark, and a love of life and beauty. I also drew the parallel with my concept for a blue-chip documentary series about biodiversity which I took to Wildscreen 2006 – where I spoke to many of the great and the good about it. My position was then, and remains, that all the marvelous natural history documentaries deal with aspects of biodiversity, but there is a gap in the record of the genre because there has been no series about biodiversity itself which is needed in order to bridge the gap in understanding between the word’s increasingly widespread use and its meaning. I concluded by saying: ‘So there you have it, thwarted in two areas of endeavour, but fortunately able to carry on filming nature’s marvels in this one small place on earth.’