Perpetual Amazonia (MLC Plot 00,0001 | one metre | S12 48 21.6 W71 24 17.6)
2010 - 2010
Materials: Lambda photographs backed on Dibond
Dimensions: Box framed 128 x 128 x 5cm each
Exhibition history: 2012 Espace Fondation EDF, Paris; 2010 Natural History Museum London
Courtesy: Courtesy of the Artists
During their first expedition to the Amazon in 2009, Lucy + Jorge assisted scientists from the Environmental Change Institute from Oxford University to map out a one-hectare plot in the rainforest. The plot is situated in the heart of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and part of the Fundo Mascoitania in Peru, a 640-hectare area managed by the CREES Foundation. Trees and rare plants were marked and their data collected for scientific research purposes. This ongoing fieldwork inspired the artists to create Perpetual Amazonia, a key work in the meta-theme ' Amazonia’ – to conserve the plot into perpetuity and to dedicate it to scientific research for the benefits we all receive from long-term forest conservation.
The photographs in the series Perpetual Amazonia are taken by the artists during their travels, they constitute a database of the diversity of plant species around the world. On the bottom right-hand corner of each is the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates of a single square metre, a sub-plot within the hectare at GPS coordinates S12 48 21.6 W71 24 17.6.
Accompanying each photograph is a Perpetual Amazonia certificate of moral ownership. This is the symbolic land title right (a deed) to one of the 10,000 sub-plots within the hectare. The certificate constitutes a legal document that geo-localises the exact location of a sub-plot. The deed describes the plot’s natural features with the organisms and species that reside there and outlines the moral obligations of the title holder for a period of two generations, with a minimum of 60-year ownership. On acquiring an artwork, the certificate automatically gives the deed holder the right to become a custodian of a fragment of a larger whole.
“Today the Amazon region is also regarded as a potential tipping point – where systems may collapse. This would have a major impact not only locally, but also on a much wider area, because of the forest’s influence on regional and global climates. Our understanding of nature needs to be global; no environment can be seen in isolation. The Amazon region may be many travel hours away from Europe but our influence on climate and biodiversity starts in our daily lives, in the consumer choices we make.” Bergit Arends, former curator of contemporary art a, Natural History Museum London.