Geoff Francis Photographer and Artist of moment
According to our ‘culture’, the age I achieve this year is a very significant one. What it certainly does serve to do is to highlight for me the shortness of time available.
This is not only true of my own life but for the planet. If we have not already passed the point of no return for our environment, there is indeed a critical shortness of time to apply any remedies but for so many species their time has gone.
In the light of this, for me this has to be a year of fulfilling unkept promises, some to others, but mostly to myself. And also to nature and those with whom we take of her joy and beauty.
So often it seems I have succumbed to distraction and allowed the easy road to wrongfoot me into becoming involved in the aspirations of others. Is it a do or die year? Perhaps. Only time will prove. Certainly it is a time to count the cost. Surely the price of not knowing that ‘enough is plenty’ is oblivion for the planet and ourselves with it.
I have planned four projects for this year.
Weapons of Mass Destruction - Changing the Picture
This film is a reworking of an interactive installation I did at London’s Frieze Art Fair some years ago – possibly the most significant Art Fair in the world. It was, without doubt, the most popular stand in the fair with the most participation and was the subject of endless photographs by people from all parts of the globe.
The aim is to illustrate the overwhelmingly destructive nature of the use of animals for food, and to prompt people to make a direct link to the number of animals that they, personally, might have eaten. Around the world, each individual chooses what goes on their dinner plate and so, by simply making a different choice, they can immediately ‘change the picture’.
The UN have reported that meat production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases whereas air travel is only responsible to 2%. And yet that seems to be the central focus. Other environmental effects in terms of resources, energy and water have all been well documented, yet roundly ignored by the media and governments, all of whom seem to retain vested interests in maintaining a status quo which is affecting not only the animals, but the poor, the hungry, and the planet as a whole.
The song in the film ‘WOT? No Meat?’ was co-written by Captain Sensible, Rachel Boar and myself, and recorded as long ago as 1982, when I was running the ‘Enough’ project (after Gandhi’s ‘The world holds enough for everyone’s need but not for greed’, an understanding which has been consistently ignored). I wrote the verse and Captain Sensible wrote the chorus. The song carries the optimistic message that ‘You Can Change It’.
Over to You!
Clearly this interactive installation appears to capture people’s imaginations and I am happy to make it available to anyone, anywhere in the world, who wishes to stage it, whether in a small or large format, or to screen the film.
Screen the film: If you would like to carry the film on your website, or screen it at ethical promotional events, please do. This would be free of charge - though I'd love to hear what impact it has. The link for the film is here:
Stage the installation: If you would like to stage the installation, I will provide a kit (which contains all of the images needed for re-creating the installation) for a contribution towards the cost of producing and posting it, and an undertaking that you will provide us with photos and feedback of what happened at your event. As a guide, a kit for an installation of the size shown in this installation would cost £40 plus postage.
I'd also be pleased to hear from any gallery owners or art fairs who would be interested in hosting this.
Please have a look at our project overview for more details, and contact Jacky to express your interest.
Other projects planned for this year
Everyday Gothic - an exhibition of thought-provoking paintings plus audio presentation
Deliberate Act of Vandalism - a physical and conceptual interactive installation questioning the mindset which values the material over the wellbeing of the planet
"Aliens Are Stealing Our Animals!" - a young adults' detective story in serial format, set in space and time, which links together people who care about the blue planet called Earth and all the life which shares it.