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Burnt Memory Archaeology from a Climate Emergency

Archaeology from a Climate Emergency

Summer 2019 in Arles I did this collaborative work with my Gideon Mendel. A friend and a mentor for me since the first time I met him two year's before during the festival "Les rencontres de la photographie".

We had the honor to sell some to private collectionner and to the Museum of French Photography making this work now part of the French national patrimony.

This work have been selected and exhibit by the festival Photaumnales 2019 in Amiens.

In 2018 a tornado of fire, bigger than six football fields, swept through the Shasta district of Northern California. The Carr Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed six people within two hours.

I travelled to the area to document the aftermath of this destruction as part of my on-going response to the global impacts of climate change. In his process of making portraits of families whose homes had been obliterated I asked them to give me at least one significant object that had been retrieved from the ashes, and marked by fire.

I wanted to find a new, yet timeless way to respond to these objects and began a dialogue with my friend Jonathan Pierredon, a tintype photographer, whose creative method is based on using old tools to document the contemporary world.

These images are the result of this collaboration, with Jonathan bringing what could be the gaze of a nineteenth century explorer to these burnt relics of our climate emergency. The tintype process, dating back to the 1860s, brings a unique quality–a sense that these items could be the relics of a collapsed civilisation, seared by history.

As we start to experience the heat of the world’s climate emergency right here and right now, these objects pose the question of how archaeologists of the future might struggle to understand the self-destructive behaviour that is threatening our life and future on this planet.

Each objects have been taken several time to produce a serie of photo where each one have an unique identity

Art book tintype From the home of Robert and Marcia McKenzie Scenic Drive Redding California September 2018
Binoculars tintype From the home of Kenny and Connie Waranius Brunswick Rd Old Shasta California September 2018
4/15 Camera tintype From the home of Kenny and Connie Waranius Brunswick Rd Old Shasta California September 2018
Roller skate tintype From the home of Eva & David Spliethof Laurie Ann Lane Redding California September 2018
Leaf ornament tintype From the home of Patti & Joe Furnari Brunswick Drive Old Shasta California September 2018
Melted wine bottle From the home of Mark & Victoria Rendes Swasey Rd Redding California September 2018
10/15 Closed book tintype From the home of Robert and Marcia McKenzie Scenic Drive Redding California September 2018

Credits:

Gideon Mendel & Jonathan Pierredon