Future Fossils


It is pretty clear that something is going on. The Earth is warming and our flora and fauna are forced to adapt or die. Scientists have warned us that the climate is changing and the effects are dire. Those warnings are being realized even faster than predicted. My Anthropocene series looks even farther out into the future. What if 50,000 or 100,000 years from now life as we know it has been extinguished by climate change? Will there be any evidence of what was lost? The Anthropocene series of fictional fossils are the evidence that future beings might discover.  They show plant and animal fossil traces of what humans destroyed in the current Anthropocene era. They might have existed in the imaginary Borderlands landscapes.

In the Anthropocene project I make photograms of insects, plants, bones and shells on stone. Aspects of the project were on my mind for years. I live in a house with a slate roof and inevitably a slate or two will fall off the roof. I collected them thinking that the dark stone would make a great substrate for a wet-plate collodion picture. But I couldn’t imagine what the right subject would be. I procrastinated using them because I thought I had a great process but no idea of the right subject. Then I happened to see an exhibit of fossils and knew what I had to do. As the seasons change the subject matter evolves, spring brings ferns just like the earliest photograms. Fall brings leaves, summer I collect seashells. Everything is at risk from climate change, especially insects which I purchase from specialty websites.

With the advice of the Exhibition Lab critiques I jumped into the project making fossils from the future for my Anthropocene series. Each “fossil” is a unique one-of-a-kind sculpture. I learned how to weld steel stands for them and made bases out of rocks from my yard.  The sculptures are titled, signed and dated on the back in black ink on a white painted area just like the catalog numbers that paleontologists mark real fossils with.

A selection of the Anthropocene project is on my website.