“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”
This work was presented in the Incinerator Gallery’s Art for Social Change Award.
The table is crafted from south american rainforest mahogany and on the table are ipads open to the website of the Lupunaluz Foundation. The Lupunaluz Foundation is my non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the plants, animals and indigenous culture of the Peruvian Amazon. www.lupunaluz.org. The website contains information on the projects initiated and portals for public involvement. The table houses an induction speaker which transmits through the timber the ambient sounds of the Peruvian rainforest recorded at Lupunaluz. The induction device effectively makes the table and anything that makes contact with it a speaker. This means the sound runs through the timber, the entire gallery floor and the bones of any visitor resting their elbows upon the table top.
Entirely self funded and through social sculpture, I’m attempting to provide a real world vehicle of protection and preservation of one of the most critically important global ecosystems, the Amazon rainforest. Lupunaluz was conceived and implemented in 2014 in response to the slow institutional progress on climate change and deforestation. A grass roots organization working from Australia to Peru, Lupunaluz endeavours to make a conservation model that’s achievable through local community involvement, economic empowerment and direct land acquisition.
By presenting the website on the mahogany table, a double metaphor is realized. Firstly the mahogany is sourced from the South American rainforest, now classified as endangered. Crafted into this domestic object, the relationship between material and form communicates the interlinking of global and local. Secondly, the kitchen table is where people are nourished, where conversations occur, where plots are hatched. This is the locus of family politics, sustainance, local business and formative belief systems. The dialogue of the kitchen table is the starting point for global change. The kitchen table is the heart of the home just as the Amazon is the heart of the planet.
Essentially, Lupunaluz is environmental and social sculpture. By setting up the ethical, educational, physical and activating structure, Lupunaluz is the facilitator of lasting social change. Through empowering local communities and involving international interests we create a situation where not only new associations are made but real world activities shape the landscape and the ethnosphere. In addition to physically and legally protecting rainforest, the projects that Lupunaluz supports encourages a different relationship to plants. This relationship is one of reverence, appreciation and respect which reconsiders plants as teachers rather than resources to be harvested. By helping people to engage more fully with this particular ecosystem we might be able to slow the rapid deterioration of our biosphere and promote the view of the earth as sacred. Lupunaluz is a generative artform as well, extending well past it’s authors and into future generations who will care for and expand its legacy. It was made clear to the judges that Lupunaluz would direct any prize money towards the program of choice nominated by The Incinerator Gallery. This directly involved the exhibition, its participants and the gallery in an act of conservation which is inclusive, immediate and quantifiable.