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The MISSING Workshop


The MISSING Workshop 


Since moving towards an Agrarian society over 10,000 years ago, we as a species, have acted as if nature was something external to us, something to be mastered and ultimately commercialised. This thinking has structured our contemporary world and this structuring is responsible for the ecological crisis we are currently facing into.

Osmia aurulenta is one of 77 species of solitary bee that can be found across Ireland. Solitary Bees pollinate more flowers than any other group including butterflies and birds, ensuring that plant communities are healthy and productive. Without them mammals and birds would not have the seeds, berries, or plants on which they depend. Osmia aurulenta is the only member of the Osmia genus that makes its nest in empty snail shells from a variety of species. From a conservation point of view, it is Near Threatened in Ireland. This means the “species require monitoring as they are vulnerable to extinction / may survive only due to conservation efforts. Over the last 50 years up to 30% of Irelands insects have disappeared. It’s entirely possible that Osmia, like many of our native animals, will be upgraded to a higher risk category in the near future.” , according to Dr. Aidan O’Hanlon, Head Curator of the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Insects are the main contributor to biodiversity globally. The main contributors to the disappearance of the insect population in Ireland is habitat loss and climate change. In 2019 the UN released a report on the devastating effects of climate change, highlighting that up to one million individual species are in danger of extinction. How does one visualise such a large-scale catastrophe ? Mass extinction is so awful, so incomprehensible, so horrible – and at present its so invisible.

The Unavoidable Interconnectedness of Everything is a newly initiated project that will attempt to engage 1,000,000 individuals of all ages, in a conversation to highlight the real and dangerous threat of climate change and its multitiered effects on our local biodiversity. It is an ambitious project that will produce of an artwork that consists of 1,000,000 individual, handmade ceramic ‘shells’. Each shell representing an endangered species highlighted by the recent UN report, that when combined will produce a large-scale artwork that physically creates a visual interpretation of such a catastrophe.

Using an organic material such as clay allows people to literally get their hands dirty. This I believe, invites a visceral response. The underlying concept of the project is to engage the population in a positive dialogue around urgent issues we are facing into as a society. Encouraging individuals to produce a small, individually representative artwork that is an essential component of a larger artwork will in essence highlight the power-of-one to have a positive impact on what can often be perceived as overwhelming.

Scientific data points to the overwhelming need for all of us to engage collectively to ensure a positive outcome for future generations. Evolutionary thinking informs us that humans intrinsically function best as small, highly co-operative social groups. Co-operation at this scale highlights our capacity to change. To ensure a sustainable future we must urgently engage in co-operative actions at various scales. This project requires collaboration to exist.

To date over 400 people from Dublin, Laois, Offaly and Wexford have participated in the MISSING workshop. 

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