The Annotated Bibliography of Clearcutting, Volume 1
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What can be learned about our fundamental relationships, understandings, and perceptions of our ecological conditions (ecosphere or ecosystem or habitat or place and space) and natural (subjective) relationships through studying creative/conceptual expressions of an ecology through time? From 100,000 year old pattern-incised ocher carved in caves overlooking rippling seas in present day South Africa to transplanted ecosystems, like human organs, on museum floors we have arranged and rearranged our relationship to nature time and time again to reflect attitudes and philosophies placing us alternately within and outside the larger ecology of a shared ecosphere.
Photographs as documents (babies, a flower in bloom, a butterfly) have become, partly, the contemporary currency of the cave wall, the storyteller, the candlelight cast shadow, where (it has something to do with time because of time and space, space and place) our innate need to express connections/conditions lost, of place and space, of time and collective memory, i.e. deforestation, water pollution, food sovereignty, energy policies, natural resource allocation and usage, culture, and the overarching affects of global climate change (loss of land mass in the south pacific, permafrost reduction in the arctic and carbon release, and rainforest loss, etc.) reside. Photography and film now defines, expands, and evolves the intersection of art and ecology.
Remember the Birdman of Lascuax, where memory is the record as digital ecosystems beget documentation?
A total of 482 species of rare endemic plants representing 246 genera spread across southeastern United States make it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
Unfortunately, practices such as clearcutting continue to be used and destroy habitat and speed top soil erosion through canopy removal and fragmentation. This image of a 400-acre clearcut was taken from the stump of a 200 year Red Oak off the Coretta Scott King Memorial Highway in the Black Belt of Alabama. Never give up because we must do better. Act in your community, document poor practices, be a witness.
~Chistopher Davenport, 2016
For Further Reading
Davenport, Christopher. Vote the Planet, Vote the Environment. Tuscaloosa, AL: Pocket Knife Press, 2016. Print. <https://pocketknifepress.com/>.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949. Print.
Naess, Arne. Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle: Outline of an Ecosophy. Trans. David Rothenberg. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Print.
Shepard, Paul. Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature. New York, Knopf, 1967. Print.
Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1977. Print.
Christopher Davenport is a visual and research artist and a Ph.D. Candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies--Art and Ecology--at the University of Alabama and Instructor at the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has also taught at the Penland School of Craft and the Campbell Folk School. His current project, on which this work is based, is an ongoing, forest habitat focused, interdisciplinary ecological database of clear cutting and deforestation. His photographs, films, and artist books are in private and public collections in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University, and Vanderbilt University.