“Last Gesture” is a sculpture and short film created in late 2021. It was one of 3 winners of the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards, and was selected as the Visual Earth component of One Earth Journal Volume 5, Issue 6. The film can be viewed on the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards website.
An inland sea disappears before our eyes. Coastal wildfire smoke drifts into the basin, mingling with dust particles from a dry lake bed. We are downwind, with an economy reliant on poor land-use practices which cause ancestral forests to burn and inland seas to dry up. The land has offered so much to us, a gesture that has allowed our species to flourish around the planet. When will we offer something in return?
The wood which sculpts Last Gesture is sourced from a reclaimed pine pallet that traveled to Salt Lake City carrying consumer goods. After being dismantled and reformed into its new shape, the surface was symbolically burned and placed into conversation with salt extracted from the quickly evaporating Great Salt Lake. Though this work is specific to the place I call home, lakes and forests around the world are facing similar problems and require similar solutions.
As the land bears its final unrequited offerings to us, Last Gesture is a call for local stewardship. Find your ecological passions, search out people who are working towards solutions in those areas, build community, depolarize environmental dialogue, deepen your sense of place, offer something back to the land which sustains us.