Artist: Dr. Daro Montag
Year created: 2009
Location: Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
What is the piece’s impact? The piece involves the creation and distribution of “Bio-char,” which is a “fine grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.” In addition to being a soil conditioner, Bio-char is a form of carbon that resists degradation for many, many years. The project was designed to “promote positive action to help combat climate change” with the creation of Bio-char, which sequesters carbon and acts as a carbon sink (source). People are encouraged to acquire a bag of Bio-char and bury or scatter in the soil near one’s home and then return a label attached to the bag, thereby allowing the team to map the locations where Bio-char have been used.
How does this project relate to this change as art? The piece leads to the creation of a stable material that acts as a carbon sink that is then shared with people who wish to act on climate change. The project has been exhibited widely and participants are also able to purchase Bio-char online.
What makes this an artistic project? Daro Montag is an artist, who’s practice is focused on the environment and ecological issues. He is also an Associate Professor of Art and Environment, School of Art & Design at Falmouth University.This project developed from Montag’s participation in the 2009 Cape Farewell expedition to the Peruvian Andes and Amazon as part of a team engaged in the cultural response to environmental change.
Notes: Daro Montag has presented a lecture, entitled ‘Vinegar & Brown Paper’, on the background and inspiration behind this piece, which you can see below.