The Metabolic Landscape
Exhibition by Gina Glover and Jessica Rayner
That climate change would come as a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels was first predicted in the 1920s by Alfred Lotka, a chemist and biophysicist educated in Birmingham. The title of this exhibition draws from his analysis and from the science of biochemical processes found in living organisms and in the Earth’s energy and chemical flows.
Over the last 200 years society has massively increased its use of energy, bringing immense benefits to humankind but also interfering in the planet’s carbon and nitrogen cycles, now also identified as a major source of ecological damage. Just as a metabolic disease refers to an energy-related disorder of the body, so too, due to the burning of fossil fuels, the planet is itself revealing signs of metabolic distress.
Glover and Rayner’s artwork addresses energy extraction, energy transmission, energy use and energy substances, in the case of coal and oil, once living organisms. The exhibition poses questions about energy in the landscape, making the case that art must engage with the energy dynamics of the world about us.
Dr Geof Rayner
Gina Glover, Geof Rayner and Jessica Rayner’s book, released with the exhibition,The Metabolic Landscape: Perception, Practice and the Energy Transition (Black Dog Publishing, 2014), can be ordered via the artists’ websites GinaGlover.com and JessicaRayner.com, along with pictures and posters from the exhibition.