Paul Jones

RIVER DEE ESTUARY: VISUALISING THE ANTHROPOCENE

This talk describes an artist led response to a project based at locations along the River Dee Estuary in North Wales, UK. As a site of special scientific research and a protected area, the estuary is also a material witness to anthropogenic impact. Historically a major trading route into England, a number of heavy industries, including steelworks, sewage plants and power stations, have had a detrimental effect on the ecology in this area. This is particularly prevalent on the Welsh side of the estuary where we conducted the research. Together with examining the clay as a record of environmental pollution, making objects that we called aesthetic data vessels, my talk will consider how the collected material could be exploited within a future disaster scenario. Imagine how humankind, if forced to return to a more primitive way of living, would claim and improvise tools and technologies from the discarded detritus of our technological age along estuary regions. Whilst these ‘flights of fancy’ appear eccentric, they also help to visualize the delicate synergy between the environment and humankind.

Paul R Jones
© Paul R Jones

Paul Jones is an artist/research/academic with a Phd from Aberystwyth University, Wales. He teaches full time at Wrexham Glyndŵr University in the MA, MFA/BA Fine Art programmes, where he leads in performance, video, photography, digital media, sound, installation and socially engaged art practices. His research interests include the Anthropocene, geo-political borders, Welsh identity and culture, and the absurd in art practice. Recent exhibitions include Epona, an online exhibition as part of Amgen Eisteddfod in 2020 and Tiriogaeth y Ffin/Frontier Territory, at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth in 2018–19.