What are the consequences of agriculture on the ecosystem?
#monocultures #foodsupply #ecology #agriculture #exploitation
Rising sea levels and desertification of previously lush landscapes are only two symptoms of a much larger phenomenon. The effects of our human activity, needs and desires are irrevocably changing our planet. A seemingly unstoppable process which will intensify with the global human population projected to grow over 9.7 billion by 2050. Climate refugees, food shortages and growing conflicts are among the anticipated effects of us stretching our planet far beyond its limits.
“Imperial Valley” investigates the dissection between a world interfered with and designed by humans over the natural order. In his immersive video work and installation, Lukas Marxt depicts California’s most important region of industrial agriculture located in the Sonora Desert. Thousands of acres of farmland, originally one of the driest on earth, are made arable through an irrigation system that taps into the Colorado River causing it to no longer flow above land into Mexico. The vast system of canals, check dams, and pipelines carry the water all over the valley despite hot desert climates allowing for a greatly increased crop yield in this area. The wastewater and fertilizers produced during cultivation are discharged unfiltered into the Salton Sea, an artificial lake which has no natural drainage system. If the region and its neighbouring regions in Mexico continue to dry up, the Salton Sea becomes a greater danger to people and the environment.
With “Imperial Valley” Marxt invites us to bear witness of an anthropogenic environment driven by exploitation and corporate interests. Through a birds-eye view, we follow artificially laid water channels and fly over monocultures that seem to dissolve into abstract forms. Unimaginable proportions of fields in geometric shapes are accompanied by electronic music, pulling us deeper into an aestheticized vision of reality. What at first seems like spectacular imagery of landscape is a contemporary testimonial confronting us with one of the most pressing questions of our time: How to ensure nutrition for a growing world population?
Imperial Valley (cultivated run-off) is presented in partnership with Imagine Science Film (ISF), New York.