Aberystwyth Art Centre, Wales, 2016

18 November – 16 January 2016

Curated by Eve Ropek

A solo exhibition including the artists’ 6m long crystal encrusted whale skeleton, Polar Diamond and the first UK showing of The Ecocide Trial, The Supreme Court, 30 September 2011.

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Exhibitions to date 

First shown at The Ship: The Art of Climate Change 2006
Natural History Museum

Changing Landscapes 2014
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
9 March – 28 July 2013

DVD shown at Capital Offense, 28 January – 11 March 2012
(crystallised whale skeleton not exhibited due to U.S. importation restrictions)

6m long Minke whale skeleton encrusted with a chemical growth of alum crystals.
Created for Cape Farewell’s Art & Climate Change exhibition.

“We were drawn to working with the skeleton of a whale after seeing beaches in the High Arctic littered with thousands of bones. Whales were hunted for centuries for their oil for heating and lighting, and numerous whale-based products in the industrialising world prior to the discovery of petroleum. Some species of whales were eradicated completely and many are now endangered by changes in sea temperature and ocean currents, noise pollution and hunting.

In 2005, working closely with the Cetacean Stranding Programme at London’s Natural History Museum, we removed the skeleton from a minke whale washed up in Skegness, Lincolnshire, on the UK’s east coast. We cleaned the bones and then immersed them one by one in a highly saturated alum solution, encrusting the skeleton with a chemical growth of ice-like crystals. As the work progressed so did our understanding of how the ocean absorbs vast quantities of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuel and how in the last two hundred years the chemistry of the ocean has changed for the first time in millions of years, giving unambiguous evidence that climate change in our lifetime is caused by anthropogenic emissions. The seawater is turning sour and many marine creatures are struggling to make shells. Ocean acidification is affecting corals, molluscs and tiny zooplankton, the major food source of many marine animals, including whales. A recent report from a leading United Nations scientist claims that before the end of this century, coral reefs are on course to become the first ecosystem that human activity will eliminate entirely from the Earth. If the global consumption of fossil fuel continues unabated the acidity of the oceans will increase incrementally and the calcium shell life they support will gradually perish.”

Ackroyd & Harvey
2006 – 2012

Read text from the Natural History Museum publication