Open Studios Hours May 13/14, 11am - 5pm
Vida Pavesich teaches philosophy and makes digital collages--and also jewelry. She has been profoundly affected by teaching environmental ethics the past few years. She relished diving into the literature, not knowing how much it would disturb her, or how it would inform her art making and her understanding of the human place in the world in the age that is now called the “Anthropocene.” That is, the term refers to the onset of what many think is a new geological age brought about because human behavior has inadvertently affected planetary boundaries. The Holocene, which has supported the emergence of life on the planet, has thus become ragged around the edges. She took many photos of beautiful forests, lush wetlands, botanical gardens, sunsets during fire seasons, children playing on the beach in Alameda, refuse floating in lakes, evidence of drought, city dumps, and more. She took photos of graffiti-covered buildings, and she also took photos of polluted environments—some of which were toxic pools in an abandoned military base. All these images, in one way or another, found their way into her collages, and many of the results emerge in a way that is not obvious.
When children play, they might be playing in the aftereffects—the “slow violence”—of toxic dumping. Everything is interconnected, whether we see, hear, or smell it. It all seeps into the environment and is passed on to new generations. These days we do see, hear, and smell a lot more than we used to. There really are no absolutely “safe spaces.” There are no spaces untouched by human activity, which can be for good or ill. That said: the perennial hope among many is that as awareness increases, more can be done to turn the tide in positive directions. In the past few decades, we have seen an enormous shift in consciousness around environmental issues. Let’s hope it is enough to turn as much of this around as possible—to preserve as much Holocene stability as we can. Hence, the collages reflect both nascent new directions and the enormity of having breached planetary boundaries. See www.arthanthropocene.com for Vida’s essays, posts, and collages. See @photoartvida for more.