October 4th – October 22nd
Reception Friday, October 4th 6pm – 9pm
At the water’s edge politics were once reputed to stop. Today our politics offer no foreign policy consensus and our coasts are the most desired, politically contested, and environmentally burdened regions on earth. Facing rising sea levels, depleted resources, massive storms, unsupportable population densities, and the many other ravages of global warming the very geography of the coast is under siege and addressing these issues is
the world’s most desperate international policy necessity. And yet people still travel to the coast for recreation in record numbers— often oblivious to ongoing debates about access, use, exploitation of coastal resources, and the global warming crisis itself. The coast has become a battleground, even as it remains merely a day at the beach.
The photographs included here are selections from a forty image book project that uses quotes from scientists, bureaucrats, policy statements, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have been affected by the actions of extractive industries or global warming-related events. The dialogue is dire, the lack of concerted action around the world is terrifying. As we face an existential threat to life on earth as we’ve come to know it, the vacuum of response is our species’ greatest failing. It seems likely that “We had it all and used it up.” will be our species’ epitaph. The contrast between our ecological and climatic realities and people’s time at the coast is stark, this work pushes that discordance to the limits. It is intended to be shrill, strident, even as the images themselves are beautiful. It is intended to be an alarm rung in response to the emergency we face.
But an alarm rung without response is hopeless and it seems the best answer to forcing our governments’ hands is non-violent direct action of the sort that Extinction Rebellion is practicing. The posters, flyers, and first issue of the Rebellion Recorder are another of my responses to where we have put ourselves due to our history of irresponsible, greed-driven actions. Please take the time to read the essay by Bill McKibben, Peter Kalmus’ list of facts about where we are today, and take in the rest of the paper’s print galley content. There will be a new edition available this October, look for it here in SF; the local Extinction Rebellion cell will be distributing it around town and at their actions during the latest international period of non-violent civil disobedience beginning October 7th.
About the Artist
J. Matt graduated from SFAI and believes that photography is merely an excuse to pay careful attention and relay information gleaned from doing so to others. See more at tinyshocks.com.