2023 | 4k video, multichannel, seamless loop, silent

Above image: Origin Stories (detail, channel 3)

Origin Stories carries on ideas explored in previous works by Richardson where extinct species have taken the form of crystals. It is as though complex life has been transformed into pure carbon – that is, into the most concentrated forms of pure carbon in the natural world – diamonds. Set adrift amongst the stars, the crystalline debris field reveals the majesty and infinite wealth of our home within context of the known universe – where as far as humanity has confirmed, Earth is the only known planet to foster life. With monumental efforts to discover life elsewhere, how differently would we value any of the species which we allowed to go extinct today, if they were discovered on another planet? Ultimately, the work asks us to consider what it is that we truly value.

Origin Stories was inspired by Richardson’s involvement in the Awi’nakola Foundation, a collective working towards primary, old-growth forest preservation and restoration in BC. The idea for the work builds on the many conversations with members – including world renowned forest ecologyst Dr. Suzanne Simard – about complex life forms which took 4 billion years to evolve and which we are losing at a terrifying rate within the current extinction crisis, fuelled by the continual logging of some of the last primary forests on the planet in BC. Kwakwaka’wakw origin stories generously shared by Ma’amtagila Hereditary Chief Makwala – Rande Cook provided an unexpected lens to this work and while these remain sacred, the title is a direct nod to this, along with the many theories, stories and ways of knowing how complex life evolved and by extension, how incredibly fortunate we were to be a part of it.

Installation view: Waldburger Wouters Gallery (hosted by Rectangle, Brussels), 3 channel seamless panorama, seamless loop, photo: Xavier Pauwels

Origin Stories (detail)

Origin Stories on set with Metallica, for 72 Seeasons (photo: Setta)