Read about a new equation to ponder: bacteria + batteries = energy (fuel cell)
The pride of an ex-miner is something special to witness. Recently, I was privileged to listen to Gerald McGlennon talking about his work with the mining rescue service in West Cumbria. I was at the Haig Mining Museum in Whitehaven researching the historic utilisation of canaries to identify dangerous gases in the mines. The little yellow birds were excellent sentinels who saved many miners lives.
The birds being acutely sensitive to the odourless, tasteless and colourless carbon monoxide and methane gases were invaluable in monitoring air quality. The canaries were originally carried down the mines in rudimentary cages, but later their value was illustrated in the implementation of a special protective carriage. The ‘bird reviver’ carriage (pictured above with Gerald), enabled the creature to not only be monitored through an acrylic screen, but also if it was seen to be showing signs of distress, a valve could be opened and fresh oxygen was released from a miniature tank attached to the top of the cage. The oxygen bottle doubled as a handle. An example of this charming artefact is housed in the museum – it is well made and its style has a resonance with diving equipment.
Gerald stated, “It was our priority to monitor the canary closely and to never lose a bird through neglect.”
In the 1980s the canaries were replaced with electronic devices called ‘self rescuers’. The rationale for the change being; the technology was more reliable and cheaper to run and did not conflict with ethical policy.
It’s interesting to contemplate that many people in the world benefit from coal in some aspect of their lives, (for fuel, electricity etc.), that we all owe a great deal to such a pretty little yellow bird.
Please read this article in the Guardian and remind yourself just how frightening brutal and short-sighted we are in respect to our planet and all that inhabit it.
A loud wake-up call to everyone at the dawn of 2013 – but will we ever change?
Another new sculpture for the Book of Revelations Collection – this piece is titled Transmission.
Book of Revelations 2012
A series of wall based sculptures.
The work silently contemplates a fractured reality: the relationship between contaminated environs and the anthropocentric compass – a dishevelled mourning. The peeling layers invite a meditation on the narrative exposed, whilst the found objects transpose and complicate the space from painting towards sculpture – settling in neither. The brooding degradation is juxtaposed against the unsettling extravagance of the golden frame.
Our view is framed. The duality of being is that we seek the security of frameworks in our lives whilst remaining curious about the wider world. Science and art informs and nurtures our quest for expansion to the physical and metaphysical worlds we inhabit. The magnitude and monumental narrative of the planet ignite wonder yet conversely endow a sense of insignificance to mortal man.
Harnessing the redundant golden frame as a symbolic border, one that demarcates the contents as worthy of being luxuriously wrapped, the sculptures present artefacts dislodged from our focus of possession. The discarded, retrieved and redefined objects are imbued with metaphor and meaning.
The damaged frame, holding fragmented spaces whilst clinging to the precious cargo, defies the loss and reveres its ostentatious past. Metaphorically, the frame highlights the paradoxical interconnectedness between destruction and renewal, past and present, consumption and disposal. The fractured structure signals the frailty of the framework as an illusion of security.
My sculpture ‘Lifeline’ explores the notion that we are all locked into the grid. Made by weaving old, discarded cables from appliances into a solid sphere of dead weight.