Footprints as Possible.
It is the artist’s protest against the cultural and social practice of measuring
the value of our lives by means of the number of tr
aces we leave behind on our planet after we die. It
is also an exceptional project aiming to expose the carbon footprint left in the process of production
and organization of a contemporary art exhibition.
In 2020, the
exhibition was displayed i
n the SIC! gallery windows. It was a vision of the world after
the Age of Man, a metaphor of downfall and end, but also of rebirth. The concept was an expression of artists
reacting to the experience of the initial months of the global pandemic. It was als
o a reflection on the rapidly
transforming planet, resulting from climate change. One of the windows featured a new life sprouting in weirdly
shaped pieces of porcelain, at first glance resembling plant roots or mycelium seeds. Some were stark white,
s smudged with plastic left on the ground. The new organisms growing from the soil bore signs of the
past, like mineral records
trace fossils remaining after the kingdom of man.
A year later, in his very important book
Footprints: In Search of Future
David Farrier asked the
uncomfortable question of the legacy of the Anthropocene. What kind of traces are we leaving behind? What
consequences of human ambition and egotism will our descendants suffer? How are we going to be presented
in the myths
and tales of the future generations, still breathing the carbon dioxide we produced?*
Dominika Kulczyńska, an artist working in ceramics, has been reflecting on those issues for years in her
creative strategy. In her latest exhibition
As Few Traces as
, she opposes the culturally and socially
accepted narration in which life is only significant if any kinds of traces are left behind us after we die. In times
of climate change and the global crisis resulting from it, the only rescue for the plane
t is a considerable
reduction in human activity.
What else do David Farrier’s book and Dominika Kulczyńska’s project have in common? An in
on how our current decisions shape the future. And also a conviction of the symbiotic character o
relationship with the environment, in which the driving force of man can be constructive, and our current
attitudes may change enough to offer a more positive future perspective. In this way,
As Few Footprints as
complements the exhibition f
rom two years ago
the element adversely influencing the environment
(i.e. man) is eliminated, but life goes on.
In her project, the artist ensures the mutual presence, memory and visibility of diversity, a multitude of
narrations and approaches. Kulcz
yńska’s latest works become heroes in a reflective, enveloping space and
atmosphere rooted in sacral architecture. We enter a shrine of earth and nature, where ecology becomes our
cult, reigned by the pagan deity of popular culture.
Lynn Margulis, who e
xplained the origin of photosynthesizing organisms, published a book in 1998, in which
she called the Earth
Gaia a “symbiotic planet”. We will be able to experience it on a small scale at the SIC!
In its organizational strategy, the exhibition
assumes the calculation of the carbon footprint at any of
*David Archer, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago, published data on fossil fuels indicating that a third
of the Anthropocene’s carbon will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years to come. In time, its amount
will be diminishing, but it wi
ll keep influencing climate change for the next half a million years.