James Powditch

Butterfly Effects
Winner 2007 Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery: August 2007
paint, timber, & paper
© James Powditch 2007

Refers to the chaos theory saying that when a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil it can cause a tornado in Texas. Small events or minor changes in a system can have a ripple on effect that result in unforseen and major consequences down the track. It taps into the growing concern over climate change and consists of a background of old photos of Australian suburbia, pages from an old Pelican book on the history of modern China and Chinese packing crates overlaid with a painted image of a butterfly. The long held Australian dream of a large suburban home helps fuel the growth of China. China ramps up production to feed our appetite for product, we buy more, greenhouse gases skyrocket, it gets hot in the suburbs so we all buy an air-conditioner and then another causing a dangerous feedback loop. China meanwhile quite rightly pursues its own modern equivalent of our suburban dream in an attempt to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty but on a scale of industrialisation unprecedented in history. The butterfly image was sourced through the Australian Museum and is common across Brazil. They are extremely susceptible to minor changes in climate and can be seen as a little like the canaries that miners have used to detect the build up of dangerous gases. The work can be seen in the context of a larger, ongoing body of work titled, "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) - a take on global warming as seen through my particular obsessions with old apocalyptic sci-fi movies, environmental thrillers and science in general and will be exhibited at Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney 22 August to 16 September 2007.

Mosman Art Prize 2007 Judge's Report PDF


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