Stops, E 2010, 'Carbon credits', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.
Copyright, E Stops 2010
This exegesis is a summation of Carbon Credits, a project in which I developed works that responded to and interpreted my local colonised landscape, while establishing environmentally conservative studio procedures. This undertaking was motivated by the conviction that it would be possible to develop a professionally viable practice that incorporated a strong procedural ethic of sustainability. Carbon Credits was integral to my environmentally committed lifestyle and was also contextualised within a society increasingly aware of its dependence on the health of ecological systems with which we interact.
I engaged with a performative research model that incorporated practice-led methods such as reflection; biographical and autobiographical inquiry; the inquiry cycle from action research and an artistic audit. Reflective engagement, in particular, was an important component in furthering ideas and evolving new processes, enabling me to confront and reassess my colonially inherited assumptions regarding relationships with the land and the responsibilities of ownership.
Immersion in studio activities, and the physical engagement with materials that is intrinsic to such exploration, was an important factor in the analysis and internalisation of acquired information and the consequent development of new knowledge. The outcomes of these investigations were objects and photographs through which I observed the implications of my colonial complicity in misuse of resources, but also imagined new possibilities of a more inclusive interaction with the landscape.
Works completed, and consistently exhibited, during the project were in porcelain; a variety of locally-sourced recycled materials such as bird wire and copper sheet; charcoal, bone, ash and sap collected as a result of land- management practices; as well as photographic documentation of temporary works and ephemeral events. Charcoal, in particular, became the sustainable substance through which I aligned the conceptual, the material and lifestyle considerations. Production, preparation and manipulation of this medium became a regenerative gesture through which I could envisage a hopeful environmental future. While acknowledging that my resolutions are not static and may require consistent adaptation, I was able to devise representations of my local, colonised landscape and establish studio procedures that were sustainable, with some strategies contributing to a cycle of nourishment and care for that landscape.