Invitation to grieve with me (“‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss” - Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2018)
2018, Single-channel video, 12:50 min.
This video work is a response to reading and watching the spate of news reports from the fall of 2018 covering new research showing a rapid acceleration in the climate crisis.
Two texts are included in the artwork (see the pdf links below). The first is the Washington Post article referenced in the title, “‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss,” which recounts a 60-fold drop in the insect population between 1977 and 2013 in the El Yunque National Forest, a pristine and protected rainforest in Puerto Rico. Proportional losses in insect-eating animals like birds, butterflies, frogs, and lizards also occurred.
The second text is a personal journal entry in which I formed the idea for the video work itself. In it, I state my belief that serious and effective action on climate change cannot take place until we each as individuals stop to feel the feelings that come up in response to the devastation that is occurring. Until these feelings are faced, the problem appears too overwhelming to properly engage. Defenses set in and we look away. This piece is a call to action to not look away. It is instead a call to bear witness. To feel—to grieve—is an act of political action insofar as it clears the way for action to take place.
The audio includes an archived sound recording from within the El Yunque National Rainforest, which begins at a high volume. As the video progresses, the volume drops towards zero, mirroring the reality of the insects’ disappearance in the rainforest. As the subject of the video, the video begins with me reading the news article, and then putting it aside in order to feel the effects of what I read.