Darwin and the Arc of Time: Barnacles to Volcanoes, 2010
 

I have created this work to suggest a laboratory as well as a 19th Century cabinet of curiosities. This imaginary laboratory/workbench has been created to celebrate the journey that Charles Darwin made in 1831 on the Beagle. Darwin brought back to a European audience specimens and drawings of his discoveries which a few years later helped him to formulate his theory of evolution. (On The Origin of The Species) My installation simulates a cabinet of curiosities with forms of ocean life that represent the richness and variety he saw some 150 years ago.

Since the early 19th Century changes in the scientific and natural world have been overwhelming. I try to imagine what Darwin first saw, the curiosity and wonder it created in the public and what has occurred in the intervening century and a half. There is a dark side to my investigation because we are now in an age of extinctions. I want to highlight the crisis that global oceans are undergoing as a result of global warming, rising sea levels, pollution, acidification, depletion of fish populations and ocean dead zones that lack the oxygen to sustain life.

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Dimensions: 124 x 45 x 108 inches
Mixed media installation: aluminum, laboratory glass and tubing, shells, sponges, kelp, seaweed, whale-bone, iron pyrite, stones, tortoise shells, pumice, sawfish noses, coral, date pits, shark eggs, eucalypt seeds, crab shells, clay, urchins, paper and magnifying glasses.

     
 
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