Quagmire

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Thus far, ‘Quagmire’ is the largest-scale collaboration between Matt Shane and Jim Holyoak. It was on display for the ‘Ja Natuurlijk’ (Yes, Naturally) exhibition at the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague in 2013 and at the 2011 Triennale québécoise, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC). Quagmire was originally created inside the MAC, where we drew on-site for several months, at night while the museum was closed to the public. A camera was set up to take photos at various intervals, resulting in a stop-motion animation that documented our nocturnal activities. In Quagmire, we have represented the swamp as a metaphorical site of disintegration and formlessness, but also of abundant life and regeneration. A swamp is in a constant state of digesting itself. Our mire-home depicts mangrove roots, vines, mud, bulrushes and lilies, as well as entire cities growing on the skin of a dead sperm whale. This shared world is one at the borderlands of wilderness and civilization, the real and the imaginary, deep time and the present. The word ‘quagmire’ can also refer to a difficult or precarious situation. It is an apt metaphor for the situation we find ourselves in as a species, dependent on the fossilized remains of an unfathomable, ancient, swamp world. This swamp-world was the Carboniferous period of geologic time, 354 million – 286 million years ago, also known as the ‘Coal Age.’ On land, the Carboniferous was the age of insects, ferns, and amphibians. Although trees had yet to evolve, there was 40% more oxygen than today. The swamp forests consisted of giant ferns, where dragonflies flew on meter-wide wingspans. The coal we now burn is the fossilized remains of these forests. Carbon, after which the period was named, constitutes both the material we use to draw (ink, graphite and charcoal) and the basis of all living organisms. During the summer of 2013, we returned to The Hague and worked on-site in the GEM for one month, transforming Quagmire with drawings of other animals, landscapes, organs and weather, examining this convergence of the Carboniferous with the Anthropocene. (For more click on ‘VIDEOS’.)

(for site?) Knocked out in Quagmire sQuagmire detail Ja Natuurlijk detail.4.1

Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011
Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011
Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011
Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011
Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 Jim Holyoak & Matt Shane @ MAC 2011 07-quagmire-img_2333 06-quagmire-img_2332 05-quagmire-img_2334 04-quagmire-img_2335 03-quagmire-img_2336 02-quagmire-img_2337 01-quagmire-img_2338

photo credit Yannick Grandmont