The exhibition culminates in a three-dimensional, time-based image of a saltmarsh sparrow. The image is fleeting, reduced to a ten second loop that the artists liken to a “relic”—a future object of remembrance. As the only representative image of the saltmarsh sparrow in the exhibition, the work reinforcing the theme of “searching” and references the foretold extinction of the bird.
In this period of extraordinary and human-generated changes to our environment, how should we respond to the loss of this small, somewhat hidden, and un-iconic bird? For Snæbjörnsdóttir and Wilson the answer is clear:
When the extinction of a species occurs, it is neither enough nor appropriate to close ranks and ‘carry on regardless.’ We should learn to grieve and through that process come to an understanding of how it is we are changed — and how it is we should go on.
As artists we consider art to be both the most promising platform and the most likely instrument by which . . . traditionally discrete knowledge-fields will [combine to] succeed in effecting significant and increasingly urgent cultural and behavioral change.
And change is the only show in town.
Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir works collaboratively with the artist Mark Wilson. Their art practice is research based and socially-engaged, exploring issues of history, culture and environment in relation to both humans and non-human animals. Bryndís is a Professor of Fine Art and the MA programme director at the Iceland University of the Arts.