Gaia meet Progress
Materials: Organic cotton, print, embroidery
Dimensions: 170 x 420 x 2 cm (40 canvases each 50 x 41 x 2 cm)
Exhibition history: 2022 La Patinoire Royale⎟Galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels, Belgium
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Embroidered onto the shadow of a Mother Tree are forty verses from the poem written by eco-poet Mario Petrucci. The verses relate a conversation between Gaia —the ancestral mother in Greek mythology who personifies the Earth— and "Progress". The poem was commissioned by Lucy + Jorge Orta following their expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009. It traces the artists’ journey from its glacial sources at 4,800 meters over the Andes Mountain range, walking the grassland above the tree line, trekking through the elfin forest and into the cloud forest, to finally descend several thousand meters deep into the Amazon rain forest. The voices of Gaia and Progress elucidate what Lucy + Jorge Orta saw and felt. Audiences can follow the poetry from left to right as it is being spoken, whilst listening to the sounds of the rainforest recorded during their expedition. The wall poem is an invitation to mediate on the ever encroaching and conflicting relationship between technology and the natural world, and to reflect on how we might shape the future.