Longitudes

Progress of Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009)



Installation of Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) on the opening day, 29 June 2017. Photo: Latitudes/RK. 

Throughout the course of the ‘4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter’ exhibition at the CAPC musée in Bordeaux, the work by Amy Balkin (Baltimore, Maryland, 1967. Lives in San Francisco) ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) charted the daily price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances in the world’s largest carbon market, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The numbering system was manually updated every morning to show the price in Euros of an entitlement to legally emit one metric tonne of CO2. Polluters—power plants or factories—receive or buy emissions allowances at auctions and trade them as needed to minimize costs.

A product of the increasing dominance of the finance sector and the expansion of financial derivatives that emerged in the 1970s, the carbon market ‘fix’ has abstracted the qualitative problem of climate change mitigation into a commodity market based on a molecule treated as the singular cause. There is a trend towards emissions that can be lucratively ‘avoided’, while there has been little effect on structural fossil fuel dependence. In this perspective, global warming is a market failure that can be corrected by governing the atmosphere via an economic instrument with no real material or historical reference.

Balkin's piece was presented alongside works by Pep Vidal, Lucas Ihlein, and Lara Almarcegui, all focusing on humans' calculations and quantification of nature and its progressive abstraction.

—Latitudes 

(Text from the exhibition guide)

4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ took place between the June 29, 2017 and January 7, 2018 at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux, France.



General view of room 8. Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Work by Lara Almarcegui (wall) and Pep Vidal (floor). Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Prints by Lucas Ihlein (wall) and part of a tree by Pep Vidal (floor). Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Below a sequence of all the social media posts (mostly from Instagrammers, more on this and other works on this Wakelet feed) showing the ongoing flux of its price—which has ranged from 4,84 Eur per tonne of CO2 during the installation of the piece, to 4,93 Eur on the opening day (29 June 2017), to the last picture on record showing a whopping 7,76 Eur per tonne of CO2.

We would like to thank the KADIST in San Francisco for having given us the opportunity to, after years of corresponding over email, finally meet Amy during a residency in September 2015. Her "Incidents of Travel" day on several locations in and outside San Francisco (download the specially-commissioned itinerary here) was invaluable towards the conceptualization of this exhibition.




Installing ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009). Photo: Latitudes for @capc 



Taken on 2 July 2017. Photo: Latitudes. 



Image published in the Sudouest newspaper on 12 July 2017 showing 04,98 EUR/tC02.


Taken on 13 July 2017 by Hélène Lucien. 


Taken on 16 July 2017 by Adriano Pedrosa. 


Taken on 2 August 2017 by Lena Joreis. 


Taken on 19 August 2017 by Semi-Sans.


Taken on 22 August 2017 by Mads Freund Brunse.


Taken on 12 October 2017 by Tomas Mendizabal.


Taken on 17 October 2017 by @Margareth.


Taken on 20 November 2017 by @matlegall. 


Taken on 2 November 2017 by @Elénie. 


Taken on 30 November 2017 by @mllelahaye 


Taken on 1 December 2017 by @mommou.elle 


Taken on January 7, 2018, the last day of the exhibition, by exhibition coordinator Alice Cavender. 


RELATED CONTENT
  • 4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter” exhibition 
  • Archive of social networks posts related to "4.543 billion" 
  • Photo gallery of the exhibition 
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • Cover Story—December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory" 4 December 2017
  • Alfred Roll's 1878 "The Old Quarryman" exchanged with Alfred Smith's "The Grave Docks" (1884) in the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée 3 November 2017
  • Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth" 1 November 2017
  • 15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux 24 October 201
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017 
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016


    In conversation with Lucas Ihlein for Artlink Magazine

    The September issue of Artlink Magazine – a quarterly themed magazine covering contemporary art and ideas from Australia and the Asia-Pacific – includes a conversation we recently made with artist Lucas Ihlein. Ihlein's projects explore subjects as diverse as agriculture, gardening and social ecology, everyday life, avant-garde cinema history, fan culture, urban planning, communication and social relations.

    The interview, titled "1:1 scale art and the Yeomans Project in North Queensland", is preceded with an intro contextualising our conversation and how we met:

    Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss, "The Yeomans Project", field trip. Farmer Peter Clinch demonstrates the keyline irrigation channels at The Oaks Organics, Camden, NSW, 2014. Photo by Caren Florance.

    We first met Lucas Ihlein in May 2014 at the recommendation of artist Nicholas Mangan. We had been invited to Melbourne to participate in Gertrude Contemporary’s Visiting Curator Program in partnership with Monash University of Art Design & Architecture, and had taken a few days out to visit the Biennale of Sydney and meet some Sydney-based artists. Nicholas was already familiar with our curatorial interests, stemming from ecology and site-specific practices; indeed, we’ve recently made an extended interview with him for the catalogue of his exhibition "Limits to Growth", so his matchmaking with Lucas was prescient. We talked for hours and have been corresponding ever since, with a view to collaborating further.

    We were struck by the breadth and enthusiasm of Lucas’s practice and his voracious approach to the process of learning from the point of view of a novice. Where other people might pain over the policing of the roles of artist, curator or researcher, Lucas happily didn’t spend much time worrying about it. Accordingly, although it was the engagement with social and environmental ecology that initially piqued our interest, we soon realised that his was a collaborative practice that has embraced, for example, the re-enactment of “expanded cinema” works from the 1960s and 1970s (in the form of Teaching and Learning Cinema, run with Louise Curham) as well as a “blogging as art”, an approach that really chimed with our project for The Last Newspaper for which we had edited a weekly newspaper within an exhibition.

    Indeed, a key impulse of our approach to the projects we have undertaken as Latitudes around art and ecology, in the broadest sense, has been to resist the narrow restraints of normative environmental-concern ecology, in part following Felix Guattari’s essay "The Three Ecologies" (2000), to encompass social and political relations, human subjectivity as well as historical research. In other words, thinking about a practice that does not necessarily give primacy to exhibition‑making as well as considering what an ecological art project might mean in terms of process and site, and thinking through what acting ecologically might entail in relation to acting curatorially, acting editorially, or acting historically, and so on.

    Looking back on our projects in collaboration with the Royal Society of Arts “Arts & Ecology” programme—a public commission for London with artist Tue Greenfort (2005–8), our publication "Land Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook" (Royal Society of Arts/Arts Council England, 2006), and the symposium of “Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change”, 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007)—as well as the exhibition "Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities", Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2008), they now seem to belong to a very specific time when green issues gained wider traction. One might crudely say this began with the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in 2006 and effectively ended, or was overshadowed, by the 2008 financial crisis and its grim legacies.

    We begin this interview at a moment when we’re revisiting some of the concerns left in the wake of such projects from the near past while preparing a group exhibition for CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux in 2017 around the carbon cycle and narratives of raw materials. At the time of writing Lucas has just returned from Guangzhou, where he has been exploring the geographical and social dimensions of sea level rise in the Pearl River Delta.


    Continue reading... 

    Lucas Ihlein is an Australia Council for the Arts Fellow in Emerging and Experimental Arts. He is currently showing alongside Trevor Yeung (Hong Kong) in Sea Pearl White Cloud 海珠白雲 at 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art until 24 September 2016. Ihlein’s collaborative project Sugar vs the Reef will culminate in an exhibition at Artspace Mackay, Queensland, in mid-2018. 


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    Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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