I’m working on a project about the people that live on the Galapagos Islands. I’ll be headed down to the Islands this July, to help another artist, Christina Seely, work on her larger project, Markers of Time. Christina’s project explores “…ways in which climate change is noticeably altering natural rhythms in the delicate ecosystem”. The first part of this comprehensive project took place in the Arctic, and now it’s time to focus on the equator. Markers of Time is being backed by a group called The Canary Project, and Christina is the first recipient of their new Canary Project Artist Grant Program. More at http://canary-project.org/ . More can be found out about Christina's great work at www.christinaseely.com. I’ll be going along with her to assist in technical aspects of her current work.
In order to make the trip as productive as possible, I will also be doing my own research. I will be gathering information for the Galapagos Complaint Department. I’ll be talking to full-time residents of the Islands about what in their daily lives irks them. Life on these Islands is complex…living on an environmental celebrity can’t be easy. many of the residents survive off of the uniqueness of the islands, whether it be through fishing, or the burgeoning eco-tourism business.
The community of people living on the Galapagos has been formed under very unique circumstances. With no indigenous population, the Islands were settled relatively recently. In the ‘70’s the population of the Islands was about 4,000 people, and rising. By the 1980’s, more than 15,000 people called this archipelago their home. Now, over 25,000 people live full-time on the Galapagos. They inhabit just 3% of the total above-water landmass.
These people share the Islands with roughly 25,000 giant tortoises, 300,000 marine iguanas, a huge array of specialized, fascinating animals, and over 185,000 tourists a year!
The nature of the Islands is outstandingly distinctive, so it would follow that the community of people on the Galapagos be equally complex and special. The Islands economy is transitioning from being largely based in the fishing industry, to depending on the burgeoning eco-tourism trade. How do the citizens of the Galapagos relate to their environment? How do they help shape it’s future? These are big questions, and with just three weeks on the Galapagos, I will have to focus my studies significantly. Working with local people, anthropologists, government departments, and community centers, I am going to hone my attention on an institution that exists in many different cultures around the world…the complaint department. All communities have small kinks and daily woes. The push and pull within a society can communicate a great deal about what matters to them on a very basic level. Finding these documents and acknowledging these issues will give an overview of certain aspects of life in this population of people. Complaint department records provide a basic and relatable level of communication that can cross generations, borders, and latitude lines. These objections will be collected into a book, an overview of annoyances from an archipelago like no other; A compilation of complaints to communicate our commonalities, and highlight our admirable differences.
I’m asking for funding in order to make this research, and this book, possible. The money raised will go towards all of the things necessary for three weeks of work in an island environment: art supplies, travel, accommodations, and hiring local guides. It will give me the time I need to collect all of the necessary material for the forthcoming book on the Galapagos Complaint Department. And, it will allow me to help Christina further progress her project, Markers of Time.
Check out the rewards associated with each tier of donation, Christina and I are offering items that can’t be found anywhere else.
The uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands needs to be respected, understood, and protected. This means taking into consideration all inhabitants of the Islands: animals, plants, and the often-overlooked people that live there.
- (30 days)