Everyone knows petroleum has become essential to our everyday lives from the packaging of the foods we eat to our daily commute. For better AND worse, these products have not only transformed our lives but the landscape in which we live. Canadian Artist Mia Feuer’s exhibition, Totems of the Anthropocene, envisions what our environment might become after prolonged exposure to petroleum products!
Feuer’s interest in petroleum has taken her around the globe. Her experiences have deepened her understanding of the consequences of mining petroleum, not only from an environmental perspective, but from a social and political one as well. Feuer’s unique and challenging sculptures question mankind’s exploitation of our environment. And yet, her work is created out of materials that result from that exploitation! Through her use of these materials, the works in this exhibition demonstrate their inescapability.
Visitors to the exhibition will encounter this reality in the form of several unique installations and a one-person indoor synthetic ice rink on which visitors will be invited to skate under a swirling vortex of ravens and uprooted trees. The ravens and trees reference the environmental realities facing the Alberta tar sands of Feuer’s Canada and to the decline of winter pond skating. The ponds on which many Canadians first learn to skate are disappearing as global temperatures continue to rise. The sensation of skating in this desolate landscape hints at the possible future we may all be facing.
Rules for one-person skating rink
This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Center for Polar Studies at Augustana College and Davenport Parks and Recreation. Skates donated through The River’s Edge.