Come and join me for a preview of my current project at London Bridge Hive this September.
River Net is my new time-lapse work-in-progress which looks at the intermingling of natural and synthetic matter, our relationship with the materials we produce and their impact on the river.
In the work, I use material recovered from the Thames with a particular emphasis on plastic food netting. I’m interested in the ambiguity of something developed in part for its aesthetic appeal but which, after single use, becoming unwanted and damaging to the natural environment.
By repurposing it, I examine how much of the original, artificial beauty it retains whilst reflecting on how it might compromise the life of a river.
“What I call ‘plastic coral’ attaches itself everywhere and to everything, breaking down over time into minute pieces that remain in our waters, rivers and oceans. It finds its way inside fish, animals, insects and humans, in all eco-systems even down to the very phylum of plants”
On 22 September I’ll be presenting a lunchtime screening of a 15-minute video preview of the on-going ‘River Net’ project, followed by a Talk and Q&A. Throughout the day, the video will continue to run on a loop, and I will be available to engage and discuss with visitors. I look forward to seeing you all there.
RIVER NET Thursday 22nd Sep 2022
12.30 – 1.30 Talk
1.30pm – 7pm Meet the Artist – drop in
London Bridge Hive, 8 Holyrood Street, first floor, London, SE1 2EL
River Net is Supported by Team London Bridge and Totally Thames Festival.
The Artist Support Pledge is new scheme which aims to promote and support artists at a difficult time. The concept is simple: Artists who commit to the pledge will post images of a work that’s for sale on Instagram, for no more than £200 ($230), and each time their sales reach £1,000 ($1,155) they promise to buy another artist’s work for £200.
Selling certain works cheaper is an act of generosity on the part of artists in return for support. In addition, when an artist reaches their target, they pledge to pay it forward
The initiative was set up by Matthew Burrows to alleviate some of the stress the pandemic has caused to artists. The project, which he launched on his Instagram page, “was really a response to the current situation, a creative solution to how I might help myself but also friends and colleagues through this period, by utilizing the generosity of the arts community”
I currently have a number of works on offer (with more to follow) which can be purchased direct or through my Big Cartel site.
PRIVATE VIEW on Thursday 24 October, 6pm – 9pm at The CRYPT GALLERY 165 Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BA
Located in the crypt of St Pancras New Church
(access to the gallery along Duke’s Road, 2nd gateway)
Meet the artist – refreshments provided
We look forward to seeing you there
FREE EVENT Exhibition times: 23 Oct – 3 November 2019 – 11 am – 7 pm
EARTH IS CALLING
Exhibition of new work by IRMA IRSARA
Featuring soundscapes by Jonathan Lambert
The focus of my work has shifted to invisible nature, micro pollution and micro fibre plastic, using micro-photography / film to produce my outcomes.
Earth is Calling reflects on the issues through a series of fibre art pulp works, contrasting natural, organic material with man-made plastic fibre. The artist will also present time-lapse and micro time-lapse works of melting ice embedded with natural and man-made items sourced from various locations (including along the Thames foreshore). The accompanying sound was created by musician and soundscape artist Jonathan Lambert.
The gallery, in the Crypt at St Pancras Church, is one of London’s most unique and atmospheric exhibition spaces. It’s located in the centre of London right opposite Euston Station
Monster Soup 2019 uses samples from different locations along the river to create projected time-lapses of melting frozen Thames water embedded with items found along the foreshore. A second microscopic time-lapse work shows what’s normally unseen with a focus also on micro fibre plastic and its potential impact on the environment. The accompanying sound track was created by musician and soundscape artist Jonathan Lambert.
In my work, I have always been preoccupied with nature and the environment, in large part due to my upbringing in the Italian Alps. Recently, my attention has shifted to issues concerning invisible nature, micro pollution and micro fibre plastic. My work explores ideas of transformation and adaptability in response to changes in temperature, landscape, boundaries, and the natural cycle.
The work will be shown at: FORAGERS OF THE FORESHORE (Totally Thames Festival) Bargehouse, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH Wed 25 – Sun 29 Sep, 11am – 6pm
As part of the R&D process for my current project, I recently delivered two outreach events with families and school children. We looked at micro fibre plastic under the microscope and discussed it’s implications on ecosystems and the environment.
Forensic scientist Pam Hamer was very helpful in suggesting ways to test the shedability of fibres from garments and came up with a quick easy and way for children to create their own ‘microscope slides’ using clear tape and a clear backing of OHP acetate. Polorised filters help to distinguish synthetic fibres such as polmeric ones from natural fibres such as wool and cotton. One identifying feature of some synthetic fibres is the fact that they’re hollow, identifiable at magnitudes of 10x or higher.
Towards the end of May, at Alexandra Park, I was joined my members of the Quekett Club (Dennis Fullwood and Paul Smith) and Friends of Alexandra Park to deliver a joint outreach initiative which looked at Diatoms, bugs and micro fibre plastic. Local families collected samples from the surrounding area and, in my case, looked for evidence of microfibres and examined fibres on clothing.
This month, I also delivered an artist talk and workshops to Year 6 students at Netley Primary School in Camden. I talked to the children about how my upbringing in the Dolomites has informed my artistic practice, especially in terms of environmental issues. I spoke about how I’m currently using microscopes as my artists’ tools to produce video outcomes that look at micro fibre plastics. I ran two workshops where we created our own microscopic slides using clear tape and acetate. We also talked about the importance of thinking and acting intelligently in order to protect the environment. I found the children to be very open to ideas of change in order to safeguard the environment.
As an artist, my final outcomes don’t claim to be research. They do aim to frame my area of interest as part of the climate change narrative in an non scientific way while referencing some of the recent findings. At the same time, I value the opportunity to engage with members of the scientific community and to participate in field study trips with groups such as the Quekett Club.
My current area of exploration is microfibre plastic. I’m interested in the plastic that ‘disappears’ from the waste stream by being broken down into smaller and smaller particles. The problem now is not only how to reduce production of plastic but how to manage what’s already there – recycling just moves the problem along.
One area of concern is the presence of micro plastics in the ocean and it’s ingestion by organisms right down to plankton at the bottom of the food chain. Clothes made from synthetics are one source of microfibre plastics found in rivers, lakes and oceans. Millions of microfibres are released every time we wash these materials.
On a recent field trip to Dale Fort on the Pembrokeshire coast, I was interested to see what I could find on the shoreline and in the water. There is the usual larger plastic items which ultimately will break down.
Looking at plankton using 10x and 20x lens – so showing slightly bigger examples -indicated fibres from fishing netting and plastic rope as would be expected.
Captured irregular snowflakes (London 2018) on slides, one of which shows microfibre plastic which could be clearly seen during the melting process. It’s worth asking what sort of damage plastic fibres are doing.