Elegies & Relics

 

Click on images to enlarge. Scroll to bottom of page for my artist statement about this series.

Elegies & Relics

elegy [el - i - jee], n.

a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.

relic (rel - ik), n.  

  1. a surviving memorial of something past.  

  2. an object having interest by reason of its age or its association with the past.  

  3. a surviving trace of something. 

  4. something that has historic interest because of its age and associations with the past, or that is kept in remembrance; souvenir; memento.  

  5. (ecclesiastical) some personal memorial of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person, preserved as worthy of veneration.

What if, at the conclusion of the Great Acceleration, we are left with only relics of our avian species — images, art objects, taxidermy, sound recordings, documentaries? Or, will Nature ultimately persevere, leaving birds to roam through relics of humanity’s past existence — ghost cities and towns?  

 

Are we nearing the end of The Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant anthropogenic impact on Earth’s geology, ecosystems, and climate? Natural disasters and extreme weather events have become ever more commonplace. Each year brings ever-accelerating numbers of extinctions to  flora and fauna, creating domino effects that push delicate ecosystems toward collapse.  Birds play an essential role in the functioning of the world’s ecosystems, and countless bird species migrate seasonally, following food sources and thus becoming critical members of ecosystems spanning multiple geographic regions. Humanity exists within, and depends upon these ecosystems. The decisions our governing bodies make in one locale —regarding, say, water rights — can have devastating impact on migrating bird populations and thus on multiple ecosystems near and far.  Maintaining optimism that we might suddenly become responsible, selfless stewards of the natural world is challenging.