In addition, other elements conspire to take away from the harvest for which we worked so hard to produce. Despite the best application of modern agricultural practices, an unavoidable portion of what is grown rots in the fields prior to harvest time, or in the world’s storage bins afterwards. Every year, depending upon geographic location and intensity of El Niño events, crops suffer from too little water and wither on the spot, or are lost to severe flooding, hailstorms, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, fires, and other destructive events of nature. Many of these phenomena are at best difficult to predict, and at worst are impossible to react to in time to prevent the losses associated with them. In sub-Saharan Africa, locusts remain an ever-present threat (42), and can devastate vast areas of farmland in a matter of days. Even after a bumper crop is realized, problems associated with processing and storage lessen the actual tonnage that is available to the consumer. A large portion of the harvest, regardless of the kind of plant or grain, is despoiled or a portion consumed by a variety of opportunistic life forms (., fungi, bacteria, insects, rodents) after being stored. While it is conceded that at present the abundance of cash crops is more than sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s human population, delivering them to world markets is driven largely by economics, not biological need. Thus, the poorest people – some billion – are forced to live in a constant state of starvation (43), with many thousands of deaths per year attributable to this wholly preventable predicament (44). Locating vertical farms near these human “hot spots” would greatly alleviate this problem.
The crisis of pictorial representation is felt most fully in the case of chemical and radioactive contamination. Chemical pollution is often hidden beneath the earth’s surface, in the soil or groundwater, and radiation is imperceptible to human senses except in extreme cases. As Goin says, “I am actually photographing something invisible: radiation.” 19 To further the problem, what is visible in the photograph can be misleading. Goin’s photos of the Pacific atolls show abundant vegetation and clear sea water surrounding highly radioactive Reef Bunkers. 20 Misrach’s Lone Rock, Dawn , from Canto V , is bathed in the warm, soft light of a sun that rises oblivious to the fact that two thirds of the rock has been blown away. Although Misrach has often been accused of aestheticizing his subject, Rebecca Solnit argues that his work opens the observer’s eyes to the deceptive character of beauty or appearance. 21
Emily Kngwarreye Paintings
By Jennifer Isaacs, Terry Smith, Judith Ryan, Donald Holt, Janet Holt
Craftsman House 1998
From Alhalkere on remote Utopia Station in the Northern Territory came an Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, heir to the world's oldest continuous culture and one of its oldest and best exponents, a senor elder, and caretaker of important religious knowledge and sacred places. From 1979 when she started painting batiks to her first solo exhibition in 1990 in Sydney, to 1997 when she featured at the Venice Biennale, this remarkable artist became a national and international treasure, represented now in galleries across Australia, the United States, Britain and Europe.