Carbon 13 Exhibition

31 August 2012 - 20 January 2013

Ballroom Marfa, Texas (USA)


Curated by David Buckland, and with the support of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation's Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Program, Carbon 13 showcases newly commissioned works that propose a creative response to climate change. Artists include Amy Balkin, Erika Blumenfeld, David Buckland, Adriane Colburn, Ackroyd & Harvey, Antony Gormley, Cynthia Hopkins, and Sunand Prasad.

Carbon 13 presents newly commissioned work by eight international artists who have focused the lens of their creativity to interrogate the reality of climate change. These new and daring works demonstrate that one salient image can speak louder than volumes of scientific data and capture the public’s imagination with an immediate and resonant voice.

In conjunction with the opening of Carbon 13, Ballroom Marfa and the Washington Spectator are proud to present the second biennial Marfa Dialogues, a three-day symposium that includes conversations around climate change and sustainability with artists, performers, writers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Participants include: Hamilton Fish, Cynthia Hopkins, Diana Liverman, John Nielsen-Gammon, Michael Pollan, Robert Potts, Tom Rand, Rebecca Solnit and Bonnie J. Warnock.

With Carbon 13 and the Marfa Dialogues, Ballroom Marfa continues its ambitious mission of presenting art as a transforming media capable of addressing the most pressing issues of our time. In 2009, Ballroom Marfa Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fairfax Dorn, invited David Buckland, artist, Founder and Director of Cape Farewell, to curate a new exhibition with artists who have ventured to some of the world’s tipping points — the High Arctic, the Andes and Scotland’s island communities — all places profoundly stressed by our warming planet.

From the High Arctic to the High Desert, the expedition to Marfa is an extension of Ballroom Marfa and Cape Farewell’s spirit of exploration and collaboration.

While Ackroyd & Harvey document a mock British trial based on an account of a major environmental disaster, Erika Blumenfeld works directly with carbon, collecting contraband to create an index of the fires that ravaged the Southwest over the past two years. Global architect Sunand Prasad uses balloons to demarcate one ton of carbon by volume, and Amy Balkin explores the damage inflicted by carbon build up in reaching out to endangered island communities to create A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting Countries.

New York performance artist Cynthia Hopkins performs This Clement World, a work-in-progress musical that sails through the burning ice and myths of the high arctic. Adriane Colburn exposes the deep, dark spaces of our energy production in installations that investigate relationships between human infrastructure, earth systems, technology and the natural world.

David Buckland confronts our ever-growing human infrastructure by displaying an internal combustion engine in the form of a ready-made. Antony Gormley’s iconic drawing of an abstract carbon man anchors the show — underlining the power of artistic engagement to communicate, on a human scale, the urgency of global climate change.

Listen to interviews with all the participating artists online on Marfa Radio and find out more on the Ballroom Marfa website.

Marshall McLuhan

"I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it."

Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening at the Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Adriane Colburn's Up From Under the Edge at the Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opening reception, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 community dinner, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 community dinner, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 community dinner, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 community dinner, 31 August 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
A work-in-progress showing of This Clement World by Cynthia Hopkins, 2 September 2012. Photo by Lesley Brown.
From a work-in-progress showing of
Cynthia Marks, rehearsing This Clement World, 2 September 2012. Photo by Alex Marks.
Cynthia Marks, rehearsing This Clement World, 2 September 2012. Photo by Alex Marks.
Marfa Dialogues: Art and Environmental Activism panel discussion, part of Cape Farewell’s Carbon13 exhibition at Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Photo: Lesley Brown.
Carbon 13 opens at the Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Photo by Lesley Brown.

Carbon 13 opens at the Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Photo by Lesley Brown.