November 10, 2007 - Greenhouse Britain - Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom
November 10, 2007

Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom

Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, 2007

Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom
New work by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison
and Harrison Studio Associates (Britain): David Haley, Chris Fremantle, Gabriel Harrison.
November 2007 – Spring 2008

Devon, London, Shrewsbury, Manchester, Bristol, and Lancaster.
Harrison Studio & Associates (Britain)
+44 (0)7714 203016
info [​at​]

We believe that the cultural landscape is largely formed by the dominant cultures of a place. It is formed by a sometimes conflicted, sometimes consensual discourse or narrative from an array of stories, observations and intentions, first spoken by people of these dominant cultures and thereafter enacted on the ground. To our view, such a story has certain fluidity about it, and may change directions for any number of reasons. This work, Greenhouse Britain, is designed literally to express what the rising of waters would mean to the landscape of the island. It takes the 3 positions: of defense, withdrawal and then defense, and withdrawal to the high grounds.

We suggest that the existing plans for greenhouse emissions control will be insufficient to keep temperature rise at 2 degrees or less. In fact, we believe that the tipping point is past. In this context, the rising ocean becomes a form determinant. By “form determinant”, we mean, the rising ocean will determine many of the new forms that culture, industry and many other elements of civilization will have to take.

There is another piece of this picture that we wish to give voice to. That is, up until this present rising of the world oceans, the creators of Western civilization have held and enacted the belief that all limitations in the physical world, particularly in the ecological world, are there to be used and overcome. We think that the rising ocean is an opportunity for transformation, but it is exactly the reverse of a new frontier to overcome from civilization’s perspective. Now, from the ocean’s perspective, its boundary is perhaps a continuing, evolving transforming new frontier. Therefore, assuming a rapid rise of waters, even for a modest 5 meters in 100 years, there are apparently no models of precedence, no information, design, nor planning on the table, with the exception of ocean defenses and typical development models, albeit more energy efficient ones. It is the intention of this exhibition to begin generating the thinking, the design, perhaps the new belief structure, perhaps even indicating new economic structures that may be required for the democratic dispersal of support for an upward-moving population within the context of a gradually shrinking landmass.

The research and production of Greenhouse Britain has been funded by the UK Government Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ Climate Change Challenge Fund: Tomorrow’s Climate —
Today’s Challenge.

The programme has also been funded and supported by a range of other agencies including Gunpowder Park’s Bright Sparks programme, MIRIAD at Manchester Metropolitan University, The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and The University of Sheffield’s Landscape Department.

Key partners include the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at University of Southampton; the Landscape Department at the University of Sheffield; MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University; and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research at North Wyke, Devon.

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Devon
17 November – 23 December 2007
London Wildlife Trust
9 and 10 November 2007 annual conference
Darwin Festival, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
1 – 27 February 2008
Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University
14 February – 14 March 2008
Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol
7 March – 4 April 2008
Storey Gallery, Lancaster
Spring 2008 to be confirmed

Lecture & panel discussion 26 November 2007, Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in association with the University of Plymouth.

Presentation of proposals 30th November 2007, Gunpowder Park, Essex
Seminar 26 February 2008, Darwin Festival and Shrewsbury Museums

Greenhouse Britain
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