Eden Turned On Its Side: The Volcano Cycle 2011-2014

The Volcano Cycle explores deep time with photographic images of volcanoes from Indonesia’s Ring of Fire. These evoke earth forces, climate change, and human coevolution. Large-format negatives have been printed digitally on prepared 17″x27″ aluminum plates with archival pigment inks through either the dye sublimation or direct pigment printing processes. The metal echoes the deep timbre of the eruptions, as well as the transmutation of materials, minerals, and metals that occur during a volcanic event.

After eons of fire and ice and then melt, our Eden emerged. Without the earliest volcanic activity, enough carbon dioxide would not have been released to produce global warming to melt the ice cover. Oxygen could then arise to eventually breathe us into being.

Mount Toba erupted on Sumatra seventy-four thousand years ago, creating an extreme volcanic winter that extincted, if not all of us, then a large portion of life. It is possible that some of us, who were lucky enough to have made tools, were able to crawl out of the deep ash, to keep going. Thus Mount Toba is referred to by scientists as the “Weak Garden of Eden,” because, at least at Mount Toba, life had to begin anew. 

Volcanoes made it possible for life to exist on Earth.They enable us to see the beauty of the great natural forces of the planet—of which we are part. They offer a window into both our own evolution and participation in global warming. I want people to see how alive the Earth is without it being terrifying.

All works in this section are dye sublimation or archival pigment on aluminum and photographed in E. Java or Bali, Indonesia.