Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom 2006-08

Chris Fremantle worked as Producer on Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom 2006-2008.

Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom is a major new work by the eminent conceptual and ecological artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison and the Harrison Studio & Associates (Britain). The installation addresses Global Warming from an artist’s perspective. The work proposes nothing less than an alternate narrative about how people might withdraw as waters rise, what new forms of settlement might look like and what content, or properties a new cultural landscape might have in response to the Global Warming phenomenon. It also demonstrates how a city at risk might be defended.

This work is divided into 4 parts.

Part One: A 8′ x 16′ precise topographical model of the island of Britain with 6 projectors above it. The projectors above it show waters slowly rising, storm surges happening and then the waters retreating. There is a 10-minute text spoken in 3 voices that creates a narrative synchronized with the rising of waters.

Part Two: Text and image with a proposal for the Lea Valley drain basin. It expresses how people might withdraw and what they might withdraw into, were waters to rise up the Thames and Lea Valley River basins.

Part Three: A second design for the upward movement of people takes the form of villages in the Pennine region. The landscape and the village are designed together to create a carbon-sequestering environment.

Part Four: A large image is projected on the wall showing the city of Bristol and the Avon gorge. The waters rise, a dam protects the city. As the waters rise even further, the Avon River is diverted into a new place in the Severn estuary which saves the city of Bristol from flooding.

A DEFRA grant funded the production of this exhibition. Research on the Lea Valley was supported by a Bright Sparks grant. Although help was offered by many, the Harrison Studio wishes to offer special thanks to Dr. Robert Nicholls of the Tyndall Centre, who guided the Global Warming research and Professor Paul Selman of Sheffield University, who put together the group that helped design the Pennine village.

Independent evaluation of Greenhouse Britain by Dr. Wallace Heim.

Case Study presented at Valuing Nature Conference 2018.

Various texts associated with the work of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison

Exhibition Tour:

Ronald Feldman Fine Art
10 January – 7 February 2009
31 Mercer Street,
New York, New York 10013

Greater London Authority City Hall
14 May – 10 June 2008
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

Knowle West Media Centre
7 March – 4 April 2008
Leinster Avenue
T: 0117 9030444

Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University
Thursday 14 February to Friday 14 March 2008
Grosvenor Building
Cavendish Street
M15 6BR
T: 0161 247 1705

Darwin Festival, Shrewsbury Museums & Art Gallery
Friday 1 February to Thursday 28 February 2008
Rowley’s House,
Barker Street
Shropshire SY1 1QH
T: 01743 361196

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World
Saturday 17 November 2007 – Sunday 20 January 2008
Haldon Forest Park
Exeter EX6 7XR
T: 01392 832277

Elements of the exhibition were shown at the
London Wildlife Trust annual conference
9 and 10 November 2007
London Development Agency’s Palestra Building
197 Blackfriars Road
T: 020 7593 8000

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