Global warming may be a pressing issue, but should not be our only geological concern. Ellie Irons, a studio art professor at CCNY, recently walked a group of CCNY students through her new art show Invasive Pigments, to stress that the Anthropocene is an overlooked concern.
If you don’t know the word, Anthropocene comes from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new” and refers to the idea that humans have caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts. It has become an environmental buzzword over the last few years.
Irons defines the Anthropocene concept as a duality of uninterrupted self-sustainable versus completely dependent environments, such as Dubai. This notion immediately affects us because our current actions on the planet will influence future generations. As we are performing our daily routines, we are literally leaving a footprint in the form of rock layers. At this rate, ours will probably consist of compressed garbage, she believes.
“I use the word nature a lot,” says Irons. “I’ve lived in the city for quite a while and in order for me to get to the point where I am comfortable living in the city, I kind of had to give up on the idea of there being something called nature.
“It makes me feel better about living in the city,” adds Irons, “and it helps me feel more hopeful in a world where humans are having a major impact.”
Invasive Pigments is currently on view at the Silent Barn at 603 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn.