EON. The Story of the Fossils, is a groundbreaking art/ science book created by visual ecologist, Aviva Reed. This timely book combines exquisite illustrations with scientific prose to explore the current theory of evolution. In an age of ever increasing complexity, this book combines creative thinking, inspirational imagery and scientific accuracy, encouraging the reader to comprehend the nearly unfathomable concept that is deep time; including that all life is connected in life through an ancient cycling of molecules, that stability is dynamic and changing in the name of adaption, and that we continue to grow together with all organisms on the planet in a reciprocal and collaborative movement towards survival. This book also implicates microbes as our ancestors and long life collaborators, creating atmospheres and geology. EON asks “What we can learn from billions of years of being part of an evolving ecosystem?
Author & illustrator Aviva Reed believes this information will encourage a comfort in change as the norm, and inform future thinking towards sustainability. The EON book is a culmination of a decades worth of research, artmaking and study by artist, scientist, Aviva Reed. It is has been edited by prominent paleontologist and ethicist, Professor John Buckeridge (RMIT).
What can we learn from billions of years of being part of an evolving ecosystem?
In telling stories of evolution we recognise our complicity, our context, our connectedness, our unity with everything as a writhing, chemical concoction. These are all ideas attributed to ecophilosphy, a process of reflection and resituating which embraces the mess that is complexity as a beautiful unfolding emergence of possibility. Evolution is a driving force, a verb of process that weaves chemical cocktails into material entities and simultaneously unravels known certainties into potential futures made up of our ancestral legacies. It helps us recognize that the very first living lifeform is still alive in each and everything that is metabolizing, from bacteria to human. Evolution is a unifying concept that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of science. It integrates information from the domains of biology, geology, chemistry, archeology, genetics and ecology. Evolution is driven by changes in the variation of genes due to mutations, sex and recombination and gene flow. The outcomes includes organisms and their ability to adapt, co- evolve, co- operate, speciate and to become extinct. The outcome is also a rich matrix of relationships.
Storying our lives with narratives has been a long time cultural practice for building scaffoldings of support and comfort, a way to know, and get to know ourselves, in our worlds for our times. The stories we tell shape who we are and who we become, which beckons the question, why do we not tell more stories of our evolutionary lives? Of our ancestral beginnings and becomings?
Exploring the story of evolution can be scary. Filled with mystery and voids of deep time, this story feels to be a giant leap into an eternal earthquake of change, a seismic tremor of existential awe. But, it is in this space of wonder and mystery, that a gentle holding of all things, ourselves as all things, can seep into our being, a momentary appreciation of change as a beautiful sculpting force. Only through the expansion of our imagination attempting to grapple with these immense scales and processes, temporally and spatially, is it even possible to attempt the imagining of one ‘s own molecular memory: that “our bones were once stone, and our air cycled our eons, shared with our ancestors”. Through these grandiose projections of self into a unifying concept of evolution, can real resituating of self into a present of interconnection and interrelated life become.
The beauty of evolutionary stories is that they embrace the rigorous, robust science of ecology, whilst also placing every living being into a story. The story that is our story. Where the very first living thing is still alive in each and everything alive. Evolutionary stories evoke patterns, recognitions and connections, a blueprint similar to a multi dimensional mapping tool for gaining perspective into interconnection, biological growth and decay into nutritious decay. Evolutionary stories help us embrace the unknowns of death, by providing the poetic analogy of the chemical matrix of cycling that situates us, as alive, in an eon long cycle of recycling. It reminds us that we are the ancestors of tomorrow.
EON. The Story of the Fossils.
The EON performance,
a preliminary version
of the evolutionary story,
in dance, sound and visuals.
Soil Biome Immersion
A Soil Biome Immersion seeks to enable an immersion of oneself into the biodiverse and complex realm that is soil through spoken word, sound, visual cues, lighting and tactile experience.
A Soil Biome Immersion explores ones ecological ontology in relation to soil as a ‘supplement’ that cycles nutrients temporally throughout the planet and hence binds all organisms to be ancestral remnants of each other.
With a strong basis within the sciences, ecological processes within the soil biome are addressed as a tool to expand ones ecological imagination and understand the important role soil plays in the ecosphere. This perspective enables an understanding of molecules that once resided within the primordial soup becoming part of ones self.
A Soil Biome Immersion pilot was part of the PSI16# conference at Melbourne University.
Soil Biome Immersion
PSI16# Melbourne University
Bryophytic Relations (COUPE B0102A)
Bryophytic Relations looks at the complex and mutualistic relationships between moss and lichens and their forest ecosystems homes. This work explores the diversity, niche and complexity contained within the ancient world of bryophytes. Bryophyte diversity is a measure of ecological integrity and thus found in immense quantities within old growth forests. This work is based within the threatened forest systems of the Tarkine, NW Tasmania.
This work is an ongoing project made possible through Tarkine In Motion, a monumental environmental arts event facilitated by the Bob Brown Foundation.
Work in Progress
Tarkine Logging Coupes, Old Growth Forests on the edge of plantation.
End of the Road
End of the Road (2015) is an in situ installation made in collaboration with Patrick Belford (of Inner City Nature). Placed within the heartlands of the Tarkine gondwanian landscapes of Tasmania, End of the Road blocks the end of a road in a remnant rainforest logging road. Made from ropes surrendered from the southern oceans, and destroyed forest residue from the roading, this blockade stands in reverence as an alter to the ancients. This project was in coordination with Tarkine In Motion, a large scale residency for artists within the Tarkine.
SUPERNATURE is an installation of a living detrital wonderland created for the Festival of Living Art (FOLA), Artshouse, Melbourne.
Using a combination of living plants and detrital bouquets, the Artshouse became a wild wood, a secret garden, a jungle.
SUPERNATURE embraces the premise of a forest as ideas, a cauldron of emotions, a cycling of paradigms, much like a forest, 'eating itself and living forever'...breaking down ideas, contexts and experiences in order to building them into a future of enriched perceptions.
Looking at, feeling at, being, becoming into water...
This work seeks to reframe our ideas of what water is and how it moves.
Formulated as part of the Water Futures, it provides a participatory process for divulging peoples connection, concepts and knowledge about water together in a co- constructing, co- creating way.
Based at the Docklands Library, this collective cartography experience included a series of provocative images and a collaborative drawing project.
Collective Cartographies- detail
Preliminary Study of Emergence
Emergence is an illustrated body of work exploring modern day theories of evolution. An illustrated adventure in time, a preliminary study of emergence looks at the story of the fossils, the science, the myths, the memories and weaves them into a contemplative reflection of deep time, past, present, future.
Emerging looks at the momentum that threads the giant muscle that is life.
Emerging; Precambrian 2011
The Science of Love
The Science Of Love, Melbourne University, 2014.
How can love be quantified? Is it just hormones? What are all the different kinds of love? Love for child, love for lover...Are they the same thing? Love. How does it enable evolutionary potential? How does it enable survival?
An aesthetic interdisciplinary exploration of ecological synergies in north-eastern Melbourne.
The Symbiogenesis Project is a body of works on paper exploring the ecologically unique synergies around the Yarra River at Laughing Waters in collaboration withP J Kalemba. The body of work was produced during a 3 month residency at Laughing Waters in Melbourne’s North Eastern green wedge.
Taking an inspirational and aesthetic lead from the Renaissance approach to scientific observation and naturalist representations of nature, The Symbiogenisis Project seeked to extend the traditions of taxonomical and botanical illustration. The exhibition expressed the scientifically rooted aesthetic investigation of gathered field data from symbiotic interactions within the geographic bio-region, employing drawing, painting and assemblage to communicate the observed symbiotic relationships.
The work was exhibited within the Melbourne City Library and at the Eltham Community Library.
Pollination Aviva Reed 2011
Symbiosis PJ Kalemba & Aviva Reed 2011
"Land of forgotten memories and abandoned treasures"..
Detrital Wonderland is a world of enchantment, awe and inspiration. It is constructed from detritus and abandoned treasures, an orphanage of entities, Detrital Wonderland includes mini worlds within wardrobe worlds, mini dioramas and mini character installations that remind the viewer of stories, memories and archetypal characters from myths and fairy tales. Detrital Wonderland has been installed at The Village Festival, Melbourne, 2010/2011 and Harvest Festival, Werribee 2012/2013.
Detrital Wonderland is made entirely of recycled and repurposed objects.
PLACE : MEMORY : ECOLOGY
Remember is a series of images illustrated in a travelling journal during 2007.
Travelling through the Gondwanian landscapes of New Zealand and Australia, Remember came to explorea placespast and present stories of people, place, flora and fauna.
The large body of work produced came to inform ideas around placed- based art making, through the scientific lens.