Colin LyonsIron Fertilization, from the series We will find salvation in strategic chemical spills, 2022.
Photo: courtesy of the artist

As the irreparable impact of mass agriculture, deforestation, industrialization, and resource extraction becomes increasingly evident with the heightened frequency of -natural disasters, the Canadian artist Colin Lyons draws inspiration from post-industrial ruins, sacrificial landscapes, and the Anthropocene to imagine speculative -narratives that explore techno-solutionist futures. Lyons grew up in Petrolia, Ontario, a rustbelt town known as the birthplace of the oil industry in North America. He draws from historical materials, such as sixteenth–century engravings, the ruins of a lock on the Michigan canal, and a seventeenth-century textbook, to acknowledge significant sites of North America’s manufacturing past. He also co-opts the vocabulary of techno-capitalism to devise spaces of experimentation by setting up temporary laboratories. For example, Laboratory of Everlasting Solutions (2021) was a semi-permanent printing facility installed on the exterior grounds of the Unison Art Center in New Platz, New York. Over the course of its existence, the “lab” printed prototypical solutions that tackled issues ranging from desalination of arctic waters, soil phytoremediation, the restoration of brownfields, and the fertilization of coastal ecosystems. The project highlighted a future contingent on technological innovations and strategic management of human and natural resources.

You must have a valid Digital or Premium subscription to access this content.

Subscribe to Esse or log in now to read the full text!

Log in
This article also appears in the issue 108 - Resilience

Suggested Reading