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Art - Issue #1

Earth to Art

Words and artwork by Daro Montag

Daro Montag’s art practice has seen him take on more assistants than it is possible to count. When his bioglyphs are completed he gives credit to the fungi, bacteria, microbes and otherfauna that left the traces of their activities on the colour film he buried in the soil.

If asked what are the main threats facing the environment, the majority of people would probably respond that the oceans and the climate are currently most in danger. This is hardly surprising. With the recent prominence of movements such as Climate Emergency and Youth Strike for Climate, the rapidly changing environment has at last become a newsworthy, and politically charged, crisis. Melting icecaps and burning rainforests, alongside protests and striking schoolchildren, are now featured regularly on digital and mainstream media. Similarly, the rising temperatures and increased acidity of the oceans is raising public concern, alongside the much more visible tidal wave of plastic. While it is certainly true that our pollution is having a drastic impact on the waters and air of our planet, what is often overlooked is the soil beneath our feet.

Just as our atmosphere and oceans are changing rapidly as a result of the exponential growth in our population, material consumption, and polluting disposal of waste, so too is the thin layer of topsoil that sustains all terrestrial life. Indeed, soil is the third part of the matrix, alongside air and water, on which we, and the majority of species, depend. While it is possible to imagine how some species might benefit from abrupt and catastrophic change – where for example, would the mammals be if the dinosaurs had not been wiped out in such dramatic style? – from the human perspective, a habitable planet requires a healthy balance of air, water and soil. Despite this, the health of this topsoil, which is often only a few centimetres in depth, is largely ignored by the general public.

‘These images are the result of this collaborative melee and Daro acknowledges the micro-organisms through his work – inviting us to reconnect to soil, the source of all terrestrial life.’

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