Endangered
Environments

I increasingly run into burning garbage all over the world, from the Maldives to the Everest. Do we want our archeology to be trash? Do we want our children to breathe with masks?

High altitude trash 1 view of Everest, Khumbu icefall, Lothse, Nuptse, Lho La, 5600m (17 000ft) 27 May 2016

The TimeShrine is composed of the typical trash you would find on Mount Everest. The pollution masks are the ones Anne also used in the Maldives, resembling Tibetan prayer flags. 70,000 people per year trek Mount Everest leaving behind an estimated 50 tons of non-degradable trash and around 20 tons of human waste and earning Everest the nickname World’s Highest Garbage Dump. Trash, the newest form of human archeology, is everywhere.


Music credit: Kai Engle - Take a Look Around you

Vesuvio Mount Vesuvio, Naples, Italy, April 2018

For millennia artists have recounted to the world the beauty and power of Mount Vesuvius. I wish I could have shown a formidable volcano wrapped in ecological diversity by its incredible Fauna and Flora. The Earth Protectors who guided me through this desolation call it Our Mountain. It is Our Mountain and this is what Our Mountain has become.


“Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light” (John, III, 19) (Leopardi, La Ginestra).

Disposable sunset - Panoramic 73.4214° E, 4.22860° N, Maldives, March 2016

Upon my arrival I walked out from my room unto the naturally manicured beach of the hotel. There were two plastic bottles floating off in the sunset. For the next five days we collected the new plastic visitors travelling in with the tides, my tourist neighbors oblivious to the tragedy unfolding. I was the only one looking for them and I was the only one to see them. On the last day we briefly put the bottles back into their new kingdom and created this TimeShrine.


It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

Pink Flamingos Lake Elmenteita, kenya, september 2014

A volcanic Lake. Hundreds of circles of raw beauty and intense feelings, a ring of violent love and heightened senses. A life and death spiral. They arrived, as Tom promised, a noisy arrow of pink in the rising sun. They landed into a single straight line to avoid bumping into each other. I captured that second of perfect stillness before they started feeding.
A line to protect the circle.


Although this is a World Heritage site classified by UNESCO, recently increased fishing activity has dried up the catchment area of this lake, the water level has receded and the numbers of flamingos has dramatically decreased.

Iddu Cala Calcara, Panarea, Italy, July 2014

The first time I saw Stromboli I felt I had reached a final destination, the end of the world. A place of peace and contemplation, a giant womb. A perfect secret. There are fumaroles breathing on the beach of Cala Calcara surrounded by circles of stones, they feel like ancient rituals. I placed some painted stones at the feet of my TimeShrine and then made sure to put them back exactly where I found them. I want you to know this place exists.


Our planet will be saved by its beauty.

Pollution Shrine View of Pudong, The Bund, Shanghai, China, Pollution level 168 27th of May 2014

It felt already dark that morning, a breathable darkness of a pink shade of grey, feeling soft and surreal and muting the sounds. We all wore masks, our muffled exchanges reduced to the essential. By the time I finished my installation it was 4 pm and the city already needed artificial light. I placed a few peonies and breathing masques in the foreground and then decided to rip them all to shreds.


Air pollution is the largest environmental cause of death in the world. Killing over 9 million people a year, fifteen times as many deaths as war and any form of violence combined.

Urban Shrine Shangai China, April 2014

I did not expect to stumble upon such a resilient pod of natural life in my Shanghai roofing expedition. Strong enough to honor the powerful secret of the lotus flower, its roots planted deep in the soil yet floating on water and openly embracing the grey sky. I added the power of a sculpted dragon in the TimeShrine and joined the four elements in One.


We are living in the first urban century. When planned, built, and governed well, cities can be massive agents of positive change. They can help us protect the environment. We need a new vision for urbanization.

Spirit Tree CASHIBOYA RIVER, AMAZON, PERU, DECEMBER 2017

They said I was the first foreigner to arrive here. I had travelled very far to find a primary forest and sense its magic. A place that makes our life on earth possible, where trees converse freely and can become old and wise. A place where humans don’t belong but can sometime feel welcomed.


The Amazon rainforest produces about 20% of the oxygen on the planet. We are losing 18.7 million acres of forest annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute (source: WWF).