What does the carbon cycle look like? Join British artist Caroline Rothwell for a sit-down dinner and conversation about the dichotomy of carbon as a building block for life and a compound to be neutralized for our survival as a species.
From smokestacks to tailpipes Rothwell has collected carbon emissions and then transformed this soot into delicate drawings of endangered plants. This fall she will be using emissions gathered from across Temple University to make a monumental temporary drawing of endangered Pennsylvania plants. Appropriately, the artist will be making this drawing on the side of Temple’s newest parking garage on the north corner of 12th and Berks Street.
Other participants in Potluck with a Purpose could include Dr. Youness Sharifi who for years has been studying the traces left behind by some of the world’s largest man-made environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and and Exxon Valdez. Dr. Sharifi is also a carbon sequestration specialist.
Potlucks with a Purpose are organized by the Green Council – an eco-friendly coalition of student organizations that meets monthly with local and national experts to discuss initiatives. Caroline Rothwell’s commission is supported by Temple Contemporary and Temple University’s Office of Sustainability.
Information about the artist
Caroline Rothwell is best known internationally as a sculptor, but her forthcoming wall drawing project at Temple University leads on from a unique process she has developed – the portrayal of flora and fauna using emissions from our industrial age as a drawing medium.
Similar to the 19th Century process, where ‘lamp black’ carbon was collected from the inside of oil burning lamps, Rothwell and her helpers collect the emissions from exhaust pipes of vehicles, then mix it with a binder to create stabilized paint. The humour and resourcefulness of this action, coupled with the detailed renditions of local flora and fauna, create a tension within the artwork, which invites the audience to re-consider their surroundings.
At Temple University, Rothwell for the first time will draw directly onto an exterior wall. The University community will collect the emissions and the image will be based on the Juncus alpinus, a threatened species in Pennsylvania.
Caroline Rothwell is a British artist, currently residing in Sydney, Australia. Recent projects include: solo show at Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide, residency at OMI International Arts Canter, NY; commission for the Economist Plaza, London; residency and forthcoming exhibition at Cambridge University, UK responding to the University Museum’s archives reflecting empire, art and science.