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Warning Shot

Janet Biggs has traveled to the most isolated parts of the world, from the icy Arctic to active volcanoes of East Java in Indonesia and from a war zone in the Horn of Africa to inhospitable parts of the Utah Desert in the USA. We could thus say that she deserves the title of artist-explorer. Using video, photography and performance as the means of her artistic practice, in multifaceted and multi-disciplinary work, this American artist dedicates a large part of her research to “human ecology”. This contemporary scientific term stems from the involvement of physical and social sciences such as biology, anthropology, demography and architecture, studying the ways in which humans contribute to the changes of their habitats, through activities such as agriculture, mineral extraction, burning fuel, hunting, fishing, building and more. In this context, Biggs' works become visual recordings of a union between art and science, articulating a strong voice against the destruction of biodiversity, human exploitation and in favor of the moral responsibility to protect every living existence of this planet.

In the video “Warning Shot” (2016), the American artist travels to the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic to document the melting of ice and how it affects ecosystems. She wants to travel alone, but in order to do so legally, she must carry a rifle to protect herself from any possible attacks by the fauna of the local area. She also carried a flare gun to fire warning shots… But very soon she realizes that there is no one to answer her “calls”. Is the danger no longer in existence, or perhaps she is the danger now? Nature has recognized her; the warning shots have marked the area, signaling the beginning of a political act, an attempt at warning and a cry of agony for biodiversity and endangered species. Biggs identifies nature conservation with the sustainability of humanity itself: a harmonious balance between these two parts is a vital priority.


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