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Gareth Byrne



This installation work I am titling  "Frameworks"  uses The Great Palm House at the National Botanic Gardens as a responsive site and a research source. The area became a means of exploring the relationships between humans and biodiversity in the age of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene epoch began with the age of racial and colonial capitalism and described the most recent period in Earth's history when human activity started to impact the planet's ecosystems significantly. Since the 15th century, our planetary footprint has grown exponentially.

This impact is evident regarding global climate change, the heating of our atmosphere and oceans caused by fossil fuels. Currently, we are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate: we can see the effects as 1/3 of the worlds vascular plant species face the threat of extinction due to overharvesting, exploitation, destructive agriculture and forestry practices. Many scientists accept that humanity has now influenced our planet in ways that equal geological forces such as tectonic plate movements. We are acidifying our oceans, creating new rock layers laced with plastics and exterminating many species. In this time of significant change, greenhouses are a crucial part of scientific research while also being a symbolic characteristic of the legacy of colonialism.

While exploring The Great Palm House, I was interested in working with organic materials and the architectural structure, using found objects, photography and location recordings to tell a story of the relationships between ecological life and industrial modernisation. I continued to evolve these materials through experimentation of modes of display, such as screens, light, space, sound and scent. The materials that were once precise representations of ecological life were interwoven with our own evolutionally narrative and have become estranged, distorted through time and manipulation. The work continues to change with the subtle use of light and shadow; elements may intersect depending on time and light conditions. The narrative attempts to articulate a present/near future situation and how we perpetually analyse and attempt to figure out our past connections with the world from our current perspectives, predicting what will come next.

The relational materials within this installation compose a poetic, three-dimensional work, conjoining contrasting elements and arranged in ways that suggest reflection on human's turbulent relationship with the natural world.

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