Readings From The Barometer Of Life - WORKS

[click images for a larger view]
e.T17975A123809220
[Orangutan]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T7140A12828813
[Asian Elephant]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T8005A12881238
[Hawksbill Turtle]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T15955A50659951
[Tiger]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T39994A115576640
[Eastern Gorilla]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T2477A156923585
[Blue Whale]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T22823A9390963
[Polar Bear]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

ee.T19495A8925965
[Javan Rhinoceros]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

[Eastern Gorilla]
Plumptre, A., Robbins, M.M. & Williamson, E.A. 2019. Gorilla beringei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T39994A115576640. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T39994A115576640.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Orangutan]
Ancrenaz, M., Gumal, M., Marshall, A.J., Meijaard, E., Wich , S.A. & Husson, S. 2016. Pongo pygmaeus (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T17975A123809220. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T17975A17966347.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Javan Rhinoceros]
Ellis, S. & Talukdar, B. 2020. Rhinoceros sondaicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T19495A18493900. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T19495A18493900.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Asian Elephant]
Choudhury, A., Lahiri Choudhury, D.K., Desai, A., Duckworth, J.W., Easa, P.S., Johnsingh, A.J.T., Fernando, P., Hedges, S., Gunawardena, M., Kurt, F., Karanth, U., Lister, A., Menon, V., Riddle, H., Rübel, A. & Wikramanayake, E. (IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group). 2008. Elephas maximus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T7140A12828813. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T7140A12828813.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Hawksbill Turtle]
Mortimer, J.A & Donnelly, M. (IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group). 2008. Eretmochelys imbricata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8005A12881238. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T8005A12881238.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Blue Whale]
Cooke, J.G. 2018. Balaenoptera musculus (errata version published in 2019). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T2477A156923585. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T2477A156923585.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Polar Bear]
Wiig, Ø., Aars, J., Belikov, S.E. and Boltunov, A. 2007. Ursus maritimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T22823A9390963. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Tiger]
Goodrich, J., Lynam, A., Miquelle, D., Wibisono, H., Kawanishi, K., Pattanavibool, A., Htun, S., Tempa, T., Karki, J., Jhala, Y. & Karanth, U. 2015. Panthera tigris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15955A50659951. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T15955A50659951.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life

FILM
WORKS
OVERVIEW
MODUS
READINGS FROM THE BAROMETER OF LIFE


Constructivist portraiture; the rhythms of the natural world
The ghost of deconstructed, commodified non-human 
As monolithic yarns
As warped drapery
Enumerating the same tragic narrative.

A cascading inversion of second skin
Deliberate, decomposition of a codified species
Red list
stripped of its finder
Data no longer readable; the asset broken.

The lost language of string, chords, knots.
Suspended fragments of the endangered,
that cannot be read back
essence, and raw essentia, forever lost.
An encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy.

Fabric; Twisted and tortured.
The Tailor and the Savage.
The existential threat
The construct of time.
Monumental epitaphs to The quintessence of dust.

This earth.
Tempting an audience with Lazarus
Our sixth mass extinction.
And the decline of enlightenment.
Evaporation; the essence of objects set against the nonsense of conflict.

Fragmentation of habitat
Pollution; in all its forms
Overconsumption
Overpopulation.
Toxic waste.

Ocean acidification
Environmental degradation
Material consumption
Trophy hunters.
Exploitation.


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - OVERVIEW


This octet of works comprise a series of constructivist portraits, each defined by decaying, camouflaged data.

The fundamental theme woven throughout is the 'war against nature'; the climate crisis and our endangered ecosystems.

Although each, singly features a unique, threatened species, the collective yarns hang as 'gathered' drapery; an encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy. They illustrate a shared, and tragic narrative - where a quarter of all species on Earth are threatened with extinction. 

A simple, classification code labels each piece. 

e.T17975A123809220
[Orangutan]

e.T7140A12828813
[Asian Elephant]

e.T8005A12881238
[Hawksbill Turtle]

e.T15955A50659951
[Tiger]

e.T39994A115576640
[Eastern Gorilla]

e.T2477A156923585
[Blue Whale]

e.T22823A9390963
[Polar Bear]

e.T19495A8925965
[Javan Rhinoceros]
These are directly extracted from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, then converted into an equilateral data matrix code; the resulting grid-like graphic merged and interwoven within a vertical, textile patchwork; across which a variety of applications build the definitive picture.
Referencing the solvent transfer technique pioneered by American artist Robert Rauschenberg's (specifically his Hoarfrost series (1974-75)), Readings from the Barometer of Life juxtaposes found printed matter with cotton fabrics, paint, plastic, ink, and paper. In addition, the legacy of human waste materials (mankind has manufactured sufficient plastic to wrap the entire Earth) in the form of abandoned ghost netting, fishing lines and a variety of preformed packaging materials, is directly stitched-into each piece. Consequently, by adapting the ancient Japanese discipline of Boro (the practice of reworking and repairing textiles), and its associated belief in Mottainai (a sense of regret over waste), the works that constitute Readings from the Barometer of Life unfold both as a lament, and portentous epigraph, where commodity, disposable asset and debris juxtapose to forge a moving monograph for the Sixth Mass Extinction.
“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.”
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive WWF

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - FILM

Running time: 30 mins.

WITH THANKS TO

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist, internationally recognised for challenging world leaders over their failure to address climate change.
British fashion designer, who in 2020 celebrated fifty years in business.
The IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
An Australian composer and arranger, and a soil researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Paul R. Ehrlich
An American biologist, whose 1968 best-seller 'The Population Bomb' warned of the perils of overpopulation, and the subsequent societal upheaval, and environmental deterioration.
An English primatologist and anthropologist, and one of the world's foremost experts on chimpanzees.
An international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

Additional material



Shot on a Fujifilm X-T3 using vintage Minolta lenses.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Blue Whale


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Hawksbill Turtle


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Tiger


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Javan Rhinoceros


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Polar Bear


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Asian Elephant


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Orangutan


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Eastern Gorilla


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - Prose


Constructivist portraiture; the rhythms of the natural world
The ghost of deconstructed, commodified non-human 
As monolithic yarns
As warped drapery
Enumerating the same tragic narrative.

A cascading inversion of second skin
Deliberate, decomposition of a codified species
Red list
stripped of its finder
Data no longer readable; the asset broken.

The lost language of string, chords, knots.
Suspended fragments of the endangered,
that cannot be read back
essence, and raw essentia, forever lost.
An encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy.

Fabric; Twisted and tortured.
The Tailor and the Savage.
The existential threat
The construct of time.
Monumental epitaphs to The quintessence of dust.

This earth.
Tempting an audience with Lazarus
Our sixth mass extinction.
And the decline of enlightenment.
Evaporation; the essence of objects set against the nonsense of conflict.

Fragmentation of habitat
Pollution; in all its forms
Overconsumption
Overpopulation.
Toxic waste.

Ocean acidification
Environmental degradation
Material consumption
Trophy hunters.
Exploitation.

[FULL PROJECT IMAGES & FILM COMING SOON]

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

A Rhino in The Herb Garden

On 4th June 2018 the enlightened pupils at North Harringay Primary School, London returned from a half-term break to discover a Rhino in the herb garden. Further exploration of the outside zones of the school uncovered a climbing Red Panda, a majestic Tiger, an enquiring Red-eyed Tree Frog, a glorious Giraffe, bending to take a drink from one of the playground’s child-proportioned water fountains, and a mature Rhino, casually chewing on a clump of fresh Oregano shoots. A mini-menagerie had magically appeared in their absence.

The five animals in this collection were chosen to introduce the children to the diversity of the animal kingdom, and more critically bring focus to the plight of those species in danger of extinction, along with the rapidly disappearing flora on which they depend. The Sixth Mass Extinction is now a recognised phenomena - this a disconcerting and destructive component of a new epoch known as the Anthropocene age - in which human activity on our planet has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment; polluting the oceans and altering the atmosphere.

This influence has set a new and different trajectory for the Earth system. As the children grow up, and in time produce families of their own, will animals painted on walls be how we remember the creatures which once existed? Will the faded paint-marks of a rhino in the herb garden suggest a visual metaphor for how human caretakers failed to co-exist?

This series of artworks were created with the generous help of the North Harringay Primary PSA, along with the assistance of staff members.

A Rhino in the Herb Garden is partly created in the memory of Sudan - the last male Northern White Rhino of his species - who passed away in March 2018.

Project limited edition prints available on request.

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon





All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

A Rhino in The Herb Garden - The Movie


A Rhino in The Herb Garden
Running time: 6:18

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.