Format 1: 132 x 202 cm / 52 x 79.5 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 67 x 102 cm / 26.3 x 40.2 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made wood/ aluminium frame
Almost all the energy that influences the Earth’s climate, hits the Earth as radiant energy from the sun. The planet and its atmosphere absorb and reflect solar radiation, and the balance between absorbed and radiated energy determines the global average temperature. What’s known as radiative forcing is one of the parameters that show how the energy balance of the Earth and its atmosphere is changing. Greenhouse gases, aerosols and changes to the Earth’s surface such as albedo changes in polar regions are leading to a rise in global temperatures with dramatic consequences for human civilisation. Scientists are investigating novel technologies to reflect a much greater part of sunlight back into space through targeted aerosol injections in the atmosphere. Such solar radiation management (SRM) would slow down the rise of the Earth’s temperature until global carbon dioxide emissions could be sufficiently reduced. Studies show that a global cooling of the planet by around one degree Celsius is possible. It has long been known that volcanic eruptions can change the planet’s climate for months at a time as billions of tiny particles (aerosols) that reflect sunlight are dispersed in the atmosphere. The extremely cold summer of 1816 in China, Europe and North America is attributed to the enormous eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815, it was enough to lower the global temperature by up to two degrees. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo on the Philippines in 1991 cooled the Earth by about 0.5 degrees. After the eruption of the Krakatau volcano in Indonesia in 1883 average global temperatures dropped by one degree for the next five years. Scientists and researchers are increasingly discussing the possibility of mimicking a volcanic eruption to at least temporarily abate global warming. However, such technologies also carry high risks for the global weather system.
The artwork “stratospheric injection” visualises the themes of the Earth that is becoming ever hotter together with the technology of solar radiation management. The picture is based on a nocturnal long exposure photographed during the Fagradalsfjall volcanic eruption in Iceland in March 2021. Set in an undulating hilly landscape, a seething volcano catapults lava, gases and particles high into the air. The sky has turned a deep orange, the atmosphere seems thick and impenetrable. As a massive source of energy, the sun has taken a central dominant position at the upper edge of the picture. The composition of the picture leads the viewer on an implied path at the lower edge of the picture directly into the glowing landscape. The artist himself took this path right up to the rim of the volcano’s crater. The work shows a Dantesque inferno for humanity that is becoming increasingly likely the longer we ignore the consequences of climate change and fail to act.