«Dann kommen ja die grünen Vögel nicht mehr wieder, wenn die Kastanien weg sind» [When the chestnuts are gone the green birds won't come back anymore.]
In the light of the wide-scale destruction of planetary ecosystems, a movement has emerged in the USA, Canada and Australia whose members are emotionally responding to the losses of life and diversity already occurring as well as those on the horizon. They are coming together under the term "ecological grief". In Germany, this term – which is translating to "Umwelttrauer" – is largely unknown and there is a lack of public and political discourse on the subject. In consequence, there is no possibility to use grief as a resource, to fill it with meaning, enabling others to participate in it, to understand it as an impulse for taking action – to relocate it to the realm of the positive. Such an attempt is made here through an artistic discussion – locating itself between endangered species and endangered arts and crafts. Methodically I am invoking a tradition from the 18th and 19th centuries: Influenced by the era of European sentimentalism, the custom of braiding or tatting hair objects from human hair arose during this time. At that time, so-called "Wandkästen" (wall boxes) with hair bouquets functioned as a memento mori. The memento of this work expands an anthropocentric view and focuses on non-human life. The tatted hair bouquets presented in this installation are made from the hair of animals who face extinction.
Images © Katharina Mönkemöller