Gallery Event: The Metabolic Landscape

The Metabolic Landscape: A Meeting Place between Science and Art

A talk by Gina Glover, Geof Rayner and Jessica Rayner
Monday 16th February 19:00

£5 (Members £3.50)

[email protected]
020 7738 5774

Gina Glover, Geof Rayner and Jessica Rayner are the authors of a new 128-page book: The Metabolic Landscape: Perception, Practice and the Energy Transition (Black Dog Publishing, 2014, £19.99). Their work addresses the way in which the landscape, and associated processes within (as well as above or below) the landscape have been fundamentally altered by our use of energy. Gina and Jessica’s photography, video and artwork takes readers on a journey from frozen Arctic tundra to the icy seascapes of Greenland, onward to the empty prairies of the USA and back through to the flat, sandy tracts of Brandenburg in eastern Germany. We are asked to not only to consider the visible landscape but the hidden processes which define it.

Their combined enterprise employs the notion of an Energy Transition, understood as a massive shift from a societal pattern of low energy use to our current situation of high and climbing energy use. Today humans collectively employ more than 250 times the amount energy than we did in 1800. The way of life then would now be almost unbearable for us; today we expect always-on energy: to light our rooms, to heat our houses and to transport us vast distances. High energy use has transformed, perhaps unthinkingly, the texture of our lives.

The landscape effects are dramatic although often unnoticed and even, in terms of consequences, denied. The authors say that perceiving the landscape to be ‘metabolic’ – to see it as an outcome of a pattern of growth and change akin to the metabolic processes of the body – raises questions for science, the impact of energy and chemical flows upon nature – the prime impact being climate change – and it provokes philosophical consideration on process, perception and habit. The authors/artists claim that art might provide the means and the perspectives through which to reflect upon and engage with these issues in ways that science, denying a role either for feeling or aesthetic sensibility, often fails to.

Gina Glover comes from a fine art background and is a founding director of Photofusion, Jessica Rayner is a recent MA fine art graduate of the Royal College of Art, and Dr Geof Rayner is a health ecologist and former advisor to the Department of Health, European Commission and World Health Organisation. He is board chair of Photofusion.

The Metabolic Landscape website