Speech from Project Pitch

After class last week, I was emotionally and physically overcome with the terrifying reality of what Coal Seam Gas mining is, what it means to me, my family and the farming community of the Liverpool Plains.

 

6 years ago I was safely snuggled up in bed at home on the farm, when my mum came into my room, sat down on the bed and told me that there were strangers here to explore for Coal Seam Gas on our farm, and that even though we own the land we are powerless to stop them. I had no idea what this meant at the time, or where it would lead me, however this memory is the impetus for my major project. The Liverpool Plains situated within the north west slopes and plains of NSW is considered by many to be the best farming country in Australia, if not the world.

 

Its grows a diverse range of crops and has a large animal industry. It has been estimated that it alone contributes $332 million annually to Australia’s GDP. All of this is now under threat from Coal Seam Gas mining. From the maps of the Liverpool Plains you can see that green area on the left, which indicates Prime Agricultural farming Land, is also the same area as the pink, on the right, which indicates high potential for Coal Seam Gas

 

So what is Coal Seam Gas and Fracking?

 

It’s a new technology and its effects on the environment, animal and human life are currently unknown. The effects of burning this finite fossil fuel are known and contribute to Climate Change.

 

Coal Seam Gas, comprised mostly of methane, is trapped in the layers of coal beneath the ground. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid deep into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture coal and it’s surroundings to release natural gas. Through the fractures, the chemicals, gas and contaminated water can also leak into the soil which grows our plants and feed our animals, and into the ground water which travels into our rivers and town water supplies. The estimated life span of a gas well is only 40 years. Once water and soils are contaminated the damage to the environment, animal and human life is irreparable

 

A quick Google search for coal seam gas diagrams returned a plethora of complicated scientific images. Part of my project is to visually communicate what coal seam gas is, how it is mined and its effects on the community of the Liverpool Plains.

 

My intention is to re-visualize the science so that people who aren’t scientists can relate to it and understand what is being communicated. I have started to play with the diagrams and re-create them. This one is a photopolymer print of a dry point etching of a fracking diagram.

 


After class last week, I was emotionally and physically overcome with the terrifying reality of what Coal Seam Gas mining is, what it means to me, my family and the farming community of the Liverpool Plains.

6 years ago I was safely snuggled up in bed at home on the farm, when my mum came into my room, sat down on the bed and told me that there were strangers here to explore for Coal Seam Gas on our farm, and that even though we own the land we are powerless to stop them. I had no idea what this meant at the time, or where it would lead me, however this memory is the impetus for my major project. The Liverpool Plains situated within the north west slopes and plains of NSW is considered by many to be the best farming country in Australia, if not the world.

Its grows a diverse range of crops and has a large animal industry. It has been estimated that it alone contributes $332 million annually to Australia’s GDP. All of this is now under threat from Coal Seam Gas mining. From the maps of the Liverpool Plains you can see that green area on the left, which indicates Prime Agricultural farming Land, is also the same area as the pink, on the right, which indicates high potential for Coal Seam Gas

So what is Coal Seam Gas and Fracking?

It’s a new technology and its effects on the environment, animal and human life are currently unknown. The effects of burning this finite fossil fuel are known and contribute to Climate Change.

Coal Seam Gas, comprised mostly of methane, is trapped in the layers of coal beneath the ground. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid deep into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture coal and it’s surroundings to release natural gas. Through the fractures, the chemicals, gas and contaminated water can also leak into the soil which grows our plants and feed our animals, and into the ground water which travels into our rivers and town water supplies. The estimated life span of a gas well is only 40 years. Once water and soils are contaminated the damage to the environment, animal and human life is irreparable

A quick Google search for coal seam gas diagrams returned a plethora of complicated scientific images. Part of my project is to visually communicate what coal seam gas is, how it is mined and its effects on the community of the Liverpool Plains.

My intention is to re-visualize the science so that people who aren’t scientists can relate to it and understand what is being communicated. I have started to play with the diagrams and re-create them. This one is a photopolymer print of a dry point etching of a fracking diagram.

I have also played with what a fracture looks like under a microscope and turned it into a woodcut print.

Maps are another big part of this project because they are a scientific representation of physical land forms, and integral to farming. Here you can see two very different maps showing the same area of the Liverpool Plains one water and the other land.

The physical manipulation of maps in response to mining has been used in Ask Keating’s exhibition, and is an important precedent for my project.

I am intrigued by maps and have previously worked with their forms to create an Artist Book from an old World Atlas. I am enthusiastic to continue with these types of physical installations using maps for major project.

Throughout the year I have conducted interviews with members of the Liverpool plains and asked them to donate a recipe. All of the volunteers who participated in this have been women and I feel this is of importance. In this community, recipes are historically and culturally important because they are swapped between the farmer’s wives. These people are proud of their farms produce, their life’s work, and what they can create with it to feed their families, community, nation and the world.

In response to researching vintage recipes from my mothers and grandmothers collections I have generated some imagery using the photopolymer dry point etching technique.

I have also started experimenting with pen and ink illustrations, documenting farm produce and life.

For major project I will play to my strengths and create a series of artist books about this topic from the perspective of a Farmer’s daughter, which I will then curate into an interactive installation which will be part of a travelling exhibition design. The exhibition will travel around rural and metropolitan Australia. Print collateral for the exhibition, including branding, will supplement the project. An online presence is also important for continued education, research, discussion and feedback and so I have started a blog called thefracts where I can post my research and reflections and document the project.

The target audience for this project is Australia’s educated, professional, voting, adult, urban and rural citizens who are physically and educationally removed from this topic and are culturally and politically engaged. The project intends to generate informed reflection and inspire educated discussion between audience members, about the issues surrounding Coal Seam Gas and the choices we can make as Australian citizens concerning sustainable energy, water sources and food production security for our future generations.

Most importantly, this project is about communicating through the perspective of a farmer’s daughter, the science of coal seam gas and it’s social, cultural and environmental associated risks so that people in turn can make educated political, domestic and professional decisions.

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