Web of Life

Materials: fishing wire, fishing beads (both UV reactive)
Dimensions: variable (large installation, site specific)

The complex webs of life-systems on earth are in a non-static network that is continually regenerating and adapting and therefore is not in equilibrium but may nonetheless be stable, until it isn’t.

In this artwork, “Web of Life”, Ken + Julia have used over 6000 meters of fishing wire to create a site-specific installation. The wire is both a metaphor for our seemingly insatiable appetite for fish, and for the hidden interconnection between things. Under UV light, the fishing wire suddenly reveals a complex web of intertwining lines.

During or at the end of the exhibition the viewer, as a part of and a participant in these systems, is invited to both cut and try to “rewire” the work.

This work was initially conceived through a collaborative project with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania. As part of the project Welcome to the Anthropocene we worked with Professor Julia Blanchard.

Text from Professor Julia Blanchard:
Humans are intricately involved in food webs. Large-scale industrial fishing, hunting and agricultural land-use change has altered the abundance, sizes and species present in food webs.  Climate change is also causing large-scale redistributions of species, many towards higher latitudes or altitudes. These changes have the potential to “rewire” food webs, changing the links that connect organisms. However, the complexity of the interactions can make it challenging to predict which ones are able to persist and which ones are not. Another type of network concerns our own food systems which are becoming increasingly complex due to globalisation and trade. Sourcing food from further away can cause environmental impacts that might be “out of sight and out of mind” but could be contributing to further ecosystem degradation and climate change. A major challenge that we face is how to support the growing human population in ways that do not cause irreversible harm to ecosystems and to us.