We never thought it would take so long, but we have finally completed our global project and on 15th November we launch the book Fine Line.
Watch a 90 second video preview of the book:
Fine Line is an environmental art/science project that draws a line around earth connecting 12 ephemeral sculptures we made in wild mountain regions around the world beginning and ending in New Zealand. The work is our artistic evocation of the inter-connectedness and circularity of the web of life, promoting design solutions to climate, ecological and social collapse by learning from living systems.
Sir Jonathon Porritt, founder Forum for the Future said Fine Line is one of the most eloquent projects he has ever been involved in.
The book is structured around the 12 sculptures and shows where and how they were made over 25 years. It includes descriptions of the journeys and climbs to make and photograph them. Featuring over 200 photographs and essays by specialists in Systems Theory, climate science, fine art photography and regenerative design, Fine Line elaborates on our underlying ecological philosophy.
We were recently filmed by BBC2 for inclusion in a three part TV series titled Nature and Us , A History through Art, presented by the eminent art historian James Fox.
We chose to make an ephemeral sculpture on Albert Burn Saddle near Mt Aspiring which we knew would provide an awe-inspiring visual landscape. Fresh winter snow meant the conditions were perfect to execute an idea about the conflict between linear and circular industrial systems.
Titled End of the Line? the sculpture is a snow circle with an improbable horizontal line breaking it in two. There appears to be nothing holding the upper semicircle from collapse, but this illusion is achieved with rocks embedded in the sculpture.
The circle of life is now so undermined by linear extractive industrial systems, that we are seeing signs of its collapse around the world. Unless we end the use of these polluting processes and move to a circular regenerative economy, climate and ecological collapse is inevitable.
The BBC 2 TV series Nature and Us is due to air October 11th and includes interviews with international artists, philosophers and scientists asking the question “Are we part of or apart from nature?”
At this moment in time the world seems to be reaching tipping points within natural systems, climate, and societies. As the world becomes more dangerous and unliveable for many, G7 leaders are meeting in UK to plan actions that could tip the world towards a safer sustainable future, or hold us on the old path leading toward climate and social disaster.
Philippa and I feel that our work has only become more relevant and it is our hope that more people will recognise the need to transform our lives, our politics and our economies to align with nature before we cross irreversible tipping points.
Currently Famae is launching their 1million Euro prize international sustainable innovations challenge in Paris featuring one of our sculptures. Kanuka Sphere was chosen because it referred to the web of connectivity that makes up the biosphere.
For the past few months I have found it difficult to post anything here because I have been processing the tragic events in the world, as has everyone.
The death and devastation caused by the Covid 19 pandemic combined with many governments poor response leaves me feeling that the chances of these governments acting as they pledged to eliminate carbon emissions to bring global warming below 1.5 degrees are very slim.
We are lucky that the New Zealand government acted swiftly and decisively supported by our population of 5 million people to eliminate the pandemic within our island borders.
Now there has never been a better time to redesign the worlds economy in favour of the health and wellbeing of people and the planet rather than GDP and the economic wealth of a few shareholders in corporations.
This calls for a systemic ecological approach to redesigning the economy and civilisation before it unravels completely as we have been warned by 15000 of the worlds top scientists.
There are many movements collaborating to articulate this new story of an ecological civilisation. From the Circular Economy, Doughnut Economics, Drawdown, Institute for Ecological Civilisation, Forum for the future to Extinction Rebellion.
I support these movements by making ephemeral art that I hope encapsulates the ecological values we need to adopt for the survival and flourishing of life on earth.
Life force. Ice sculpture, Wanaka 2020 Martin Hill
Burning Issues. Land art installation by Martin Hill 2013
The European parliament has declared a climate and ecological emergency. So what urgent actions should governments take?
These are some of the measures that WWF recommends governments can take to legislate to protect the biosphere:
END SUPPORT FOR FOSSIL FUELS
This means phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and using this money to expand renewable sources of energy.
OVERHAUL OF GOVERNMENT FINANCES
Putting climate action at the top of government spending priority list, alongside health, education and security.
STOP POLLUTION FROM OUR HOMES
Legislation that requires all new homes to be zero-carbon and delivering efficiency measures for other homes. This would save money, stop the wasting of energy and reduce emissions.
END PETROL AND DIESEL VEHICLE SALES
Pushing forward our commitment to end sales of diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030 will tackle climate emissions and air pollution.
RESTORE NATURE AND REMOVE CARBON
Restoring nature addresses the natural removal of carbon from our atmosphere. We need to plant trees, restore peatlands, expand wetlands and farm efficiently.
In October over three days of continual storms Philippa and I with our longtime friends Len Gillman, Lea Wilson and David Newstead made the final sculpture No12 on the Fine Line Project on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park.
Huge lenticular clouds driven by the storm rose over the Pinnacles and Mt Ngauruhoe was barely visible until late in the afternoon of the third day, when there was a brief clearing. It was long enough to capture the sculpture in the foreground and the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe where we made the first sculpture on the Fine Line over 20 years ago.
Twelve circles pierce the disc referring to the 12 sculptures connected by the Fine Line around the earth.
With the ecological climate crisis upon us the world now enters its most critical stage in history, humanity’s choice of trajectory will decide its fate. With this in mind we feel the Fine Line Project could not be more relevant.
Huge thanks to all those who have helped us along the way.
We are now working on the book and digital media.
At last a young leader who tells it like it is. Greta Thunberg.
For the last thee decades the world has watched as political leaders have tiptoed round the edges of the worlds climate crisis caused mainly by global warming carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. This is what leadership looks like and it comes from a brave teenager.
I watched this and felt ashamed for my generation.
Last week after 18 months’ planning a delightful group of 14 students from Bowling Green University Ohio arrived at our studio in Wanaka for a three-day experiential workshop in environmental land art.It was one of the hottest days this year as we all gathered for a talk and video presentation about how Philippa and I came to work together around the world, sharing our art practice, publishing and exhibiting our many land art projects that explore the transition to a regenerative model of progress based on the cyclical way nature works.
The students were aged between 19 and 22 and had chosen this trip to New Zealand because they wanted to learn about our culture and environment – particularly our approach to ecological and social sustainability. They had spent days on environmental conservation projects with scientists in the mountains beforehand. They expressed intense interest in our work and good discussions flowed.
Early next day we gathered for a short walk to a beautiful spring and wetland where they set about creating their own environmental sculptures from natural materials which they photographed.
The variety of materials and forms they chose was diverse. Each of them expressed their ideas and point of view creating a wide range of ephemeral sculptures, photographs and video.
Some of the group worked with us to finish a piece made from raupo stems and flax
thread which we floated on the lake. We all hiked up above the wetland to photograph the sculpture floating below.
Later a rain shower put an end to the proceedings but Philippa and I returned later to complete two versions of the work rapidly and capture photographs in golden light just before the sun dropped behind the mountains.
We all met at the wetland the following day to witness any changes to the sculptures and to photograph them in morning sunlight. The students were all pleased and happy with what they had achieved and experienced, one was so keen on her piece she carried it off to take home to America.
We are delighted to have received samples of three perfumes in our collaborative perfume project with Celine Verleure of Olfactive Studio in Paris.
Each of the three beautifully packaged fragrances in the Sepia Collection were launched internationally this month.
Celine’s concept is to team up a perfumer – in this case Bertrand Duchaufour – with a photographer to create a perfume evocative of an image.
In May this year at the invitation of Vente – Privee Paris, my photographs of ephemeral sculptures were displayed on their new building with the largest digital facade in Europe.
A continuous cycling slide show of 15 works measuring 18m x 12m were viewed by 350,000 people daily.
Now they are to be exhibited again on 28 – 29 November 2018
A huge thanks to Vente – Privee for exposing our work to so many people.
Vente – Privee Digital Facade Paris from Martin Hill on Vimeo.