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Episode 2 – Olivia Jones – Lundy

Olivia Jones’s podcast is centred around a recent journey to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Speaking with artists, geologists and those working to protect the island’s wildlife, the recording explores the island’s volcanic history and how those living on Lundy have engaged with the material of the island over time.

Produced by Rowan Bishop, commissioned and co-produced by Bricks. Original music by @rowanbishop.

FOR A VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTION OF THE PODCAST CLICK HERE

Annotated map of Lundy Island with locations of sound recordings and rocks collected by Olivia Jones, October 2020

Lundy Island

Picture of a calm sea and rocky cliffs with a path that cuts diagonally up across it from the beach to the top.
Landing Beach, Lundy Island, 2020

Lundy Resources

Lundy Field Society https://www.lundy.org.uk/

The Lundy Field Society describe themselves as ‘an independent, voluntary group which has been studying all aspects of Lundy’s archaeology, history and natural history since 1946. Results are published in our Annual Reports and in a peer-reviewed Journal.’

The Landmark Trust https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/lundyisland/discovering-lundy/ Instagram

‘Lundy is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Landmark Trust. The two charities have worked together since 1969 to restore and protect all that is cherished and special about Lundy. Every day visit and every overnight stay helps to secure the future of the island and its landscape, buildings and wildlife.’ – Landmark Trust Website

Lundy Bird Blog http://lundybirds.blogspot.com/

A page run by volunteer contributors including Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones and members of the Lundy Field Society. It is ‘a source of news for everyone interested in the birds of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, UK’.

Cornwall Seal Group https://www.cornwallsealgroup.co.uk/ Instagram

‘Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust is a multi-award winning, evidence-based marine conservation charity […] We campaign to make our marine environment more resilient to change; give seals a voice and help us all to understand the impacts our daily decisions and actions have on our truly amazing marine life.’ – Cornwall Seals Group Website

Marine Conservation Society https://www.mcsuk.org/mpa/show-UK0013114

The Birds of Lundy http://www.birdsoflundy.org.uk/

Natural England https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/

Many thanks to Oliver Barrett for sharing his recording of the seal sounds on Lundy!

Of the earth

Of the earth is a project created by artist Olivia Jones and is an expansion of a residency undertaken by the artist with the University of Oslo’s geological research team Ashlantic on Fur Island, Denmark in 2017.

In 2020 Jones received an artist bursary from a-n, The Artists Information Company whose yearly bursaries are aimed at supporting artists at a crucial time in their practice.

Jones’s bursary will be used to develop the Of the earth project and gather research along the Western Coast of the UK. Along with the trip to Lundy Island Jones is also planning to travel to Scotland and islands along the Inner Hebrides, sites connected by material from the same period of ancient volcanism and global warming as Fur Island. These journeys will be used to gather materials and develop a network of people for Of the earth.

“My hope for the project is to develop a conversation with other individuals and communities about our earth histories and futures, to reflect on our position in this current cyclic event and the echoes and portents contained in the material of the earth.”

The Ashlantic Research Project

Image of a group of 14 people lined up for a photo in a field in front of a core digging machine.
Members of the Ashlantic team in front of a core sample dig site on Fur Island, Denmark, 2017

Fur Island, Denmark

Remnants of the opening of the North Atlantic

The island of Fur is a small and secluded island in Denmark. 15,000 years ago, the huge ice sheet that covered Scandinavia and parts of the British Isles pushed some of the sediments in the North Sea into folds in front of the ice. Now that the ice is gone, the folded sediments remain. These particular sediments are very interesting to a geologist, as they accumulated at a very important period in Earth history. Around 56 million years ago, about 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs, the Earth was hotter than it is today. Suddenly, global temperatures increased really quickly. Temperatures rose 5-6 °C worldwide in as little as 2,000 years (which is rapid in geological terms), and stayed hot for up to 200,000 years. In many ways this climate change event, known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (or PETM for short), is one of the best natural analogues we have for understanding how human activities cause climate change now and in the future. It is also important in evolutionary terms, as modern mammals only began to dominate ecosystems after this event.

The sediments on Fur island show that the temperatures were really high and that this warming was driven by a huge release of CO2 to the atmosphere. What we’re not sure of is where all this CO2 came from. One possibility is the break-up of the North Atlantic Ocean. 56 million years ago, Greenland was still attached to northwest Europe. As the plates began to move away, enormous volcanoes appeared in the rift between the plates. It is still possible to see remnants of these volcanoes, such as Glen Coe in Scotland and Giants Causeway in Ireland. Volcanoes emit CO2, but in this case the rising magma also heated sediments full of oil and gas as it moved up through the crust. The combined emissions could be responsible for releasing the carbon that caused the severe global warming event.

Fur island is a precious study area because it also contains evidence of these volcanoes. Each black band you see in this video is a volcanic ash layer. The cliff face has over 180 ash layers in total, each one representing an eruption bigger than any we have ever seen in recorded history. Having both the evidence of volcanic eruptions and the sediments showing the temperature changes is especially important for understanding whether there is a link between the two. Were the volcanoes active all the time, especially at the point when warming began, or is there no correlation? Hopefully we will be able to answer these questions soon.

If you would like to know more, please follow us on Instagram: @ceed_ashlantic

Dr. Morgan Jones & Ella Stokke
University of Oslo

More information on core sample drilling in Denmark can be found here.
Details of the teams future expedition in the North Atlantic can be found here.

University of Oslo: The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics

Their Vision: ‘The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED) is dedicated to research of fundamental importance to the understanding of our planet. The research embraces the dynamics of the plates, the origin of large scale volcanism, the evolution of climates and the abrupt demise of life forms. This ambitious venture will hopefully result in a new Earth model that explains how mantle processes interact with plate tectonics and trigger massive volcanism and associated environmental and climate changes throughout Earth history.’

Website // Instagram

DougalEARTH

Professor Dougal Jerram is a geologist based in the UK. He runs a geological company called DougalEARTH and is also a research professor at the University of Oslo in the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics.

Website

Picture of a man standing by a rock with the sea in the background.
Geologist Dougal Jerram on a recent field trip to Lundy Island, 2020

Rodney Harris

An artist's print showing the geological strata of South Wales, Lundy and North Devon.
Rodney Harris, A section of ‘A Delineation of Strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland, Ireland and France’ based on the original geological map by William Smith in 1815, 300cm x 180cm, 2015, Permanent collection of Bristol University

Rodney Harris is a sculptor and printmaker. His work includes a long term collaboration with artist Valda Jackson. In 2017, Harris and Jackson won the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture for ‘Four Brick Reliefs’ on the Peabody Estate in Clapham.

Harris has been commissioned by a wide variety of public and private organisations and his work can be seen in collections in Korea, Turkey, Europe and the US.

Harris was the Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence at Bristol University, 2015, based in The School of Earth Sciences. During the residency, he produced a contemporary interpretation of the first geological map of Britain, made by William Smith in 1815. [link]

Following this residence, Harris became a founder of the EarthArt Gallery.

His printmaking explores the use of natural rock and minerals in unique inks. The map of the British Isles uses geological pigments made from corresponding ground-up rock samples from each area of the UK. The resulting full-scale map is a unique and surprising overview of the true colours of the British landscape. The map was featured in the Museum of Wales exhibition, ‘The Colour of the Earth – Art and the Material Landscape’ and Oriel Y Parc Gallery, St Davids, Pembrokeshire.

In 2017, Harris undertook a further fellowship at the University of Bristol titled ‘The Invisibility of the Sea’, as part of the Brigstow Institute Commission.

Website // Instagram

Alice Cunningham

Image of a carved marble sculpture
Alice Cunningham, ‘Recoil’, Marble, 69x 29x 24cm, 2019.
“I carved this sculpture as an expression of the tension I felt about the environmental crisis…the propensity in the face of the issue to both be overwhelmed and retract yet also be motivated and propelled into action. I hope the sculpture also embodies the gestures of topics such as imbalance, unprecedented rates of change and tipping points raised during conversations with scientists during my ‘What does climate change look like?’ residency at the University of Bristol.”

Alice Cunningham is a visual artist with a diverse practice working with a breadth of materials, renowned for her sculptural carvings and work in social engagement. Alice is equally passionate about concept and materiality in her artwork. She has exhibited widely throughout the UK and internationally.

In 2018 she was selected by the contemporary art curator of The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg to represent the UK in a Europe-wide project, which opened in Italy in Oct 2018. Alice was commissioned to create a new public artwork for Vittorio Veneto, a city in Northern Italy to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

In 2017, Alice was commissioned to create a large-scale new integrated public art piece in Stoke On Trent dealing with issues surrounding the housing crisis.

In 2015, she was selected for a residency in Italy to carve marble in the quarry Michelangelo established [link to Alice’s project blog]. In 2015 Alice also had her first solo exhibition at the Royal Society of Sculptors, London and was nominated the following year to be on the board of the Society.

In 2014, winning a commission to take part in the “Art, Cities, Landscape” project in Amiens, France, Alice worked with a landscape designer to transform an island in the River Somme, creating interactive permanent public sculptures within a landscaped garden.

Alice recently finished a project with the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. Working under the self-elected title ‘What does climate change look like?’ In 2019 she undertook a six-month residency in the department. Meeting with scientists researching this topic. The project culminated in a solo exhibition of new artworks. [link]

“My fascination with people and our material engagement with the world around us makes me endeavor to create work that is as inclusive as possible. I am interested in ways of communicating, the ways we interact with and understand our surroundings and the idea of disrupting the aesthetics of this in order to create interesting dialogue and challenge perceptions”

Website // Instagram

Olivia Jones

Image of a collection of small ceramic sculptures.
Olivia Jones, ‘Dust’, Ceramic, 2018

Olivia Jones is a visual artist based at Spike Island Studios in Bristol. Working predominantly between sculptural and drawn processes she create works that explore the behavioural characteristics and structural potential of materials, objects and phenomena within landscapes.

As reference Olivia draws inspiration from ideas and excerpts within earth history, science fiction, anthropology and etymology. Geology and geological visual language are influential in her work, fuelling an interest in material memory and material journeys that focus on concepts of temporality and deep time, progression and entropy.

Jones graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth University (2013). She has shown her work in galleries across the UK and internationally. Projects include: Artist in Residence, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol (2018-19); Tephra: Order in the Dust, Test Space, Bristol (2018); Artist in Residence, Ashlantic, Fur Island, Denmark (2017); Contemporary British Drawing, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, China (2015); You Move Me, Antlers Gallery, Create Centre, Bristol (2015); Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London (2013).

Website // Instagram

EarthArt

‘EarthArt is a series of collaborations between contemporary artists and scientists from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. Each collaboration consists of a six-month artist Fellowship followed by a six-month exhibition in the unique EarthArt Gallery. EarthArt has been running continuously since 2015.

“Earth Sciences encompasses not just rocks and fossils, but increasingly climate change, oceanography, natural hazards, evolution and extraterrestrial life. There is a lot of materials for artists to explore and we thought this was a great chance to bring artists into the School to meet with scientists and the wider academic community through a six-month duration Fellowship.” Professor Jon Blundy, EarthArt Co-Founder.

“The idea of developing the Fellowship and Gallery was to address two things: firstly to deepen the dialogue and investigation between Artists and Earth scientists, generating new ways of visualising research; and secondly to create a Gallery to share this work with a wider public.” Rodney Harris, Artist, EarthArt Co-Founder.’ – EarthArt Website

Previous EarthArt Fellows include artists Rodney Harris, Alice Cunningham and Olivia Jones.

Website // Instagram

The Bricks Podcast follows Bristol’s contemporary artists, on journeys within the city walls and beyond, along the leylines of the South West, up the A roads north, and through their unique observations on the world.

With thanks to Arts Council England and National Lottery players for funding this podcast series.

Arts Council England and National Lottery combined logo
Arts Council England and National Lottery combined logo