Environmental Resistance is the name for a repository of polluted spaces, which has been devised and curated by the artist Conohar Scott. Often working in collaboration with researchers in environmental science, computing, law, geography, linguistics, graphic design, and in partnership with environmental activist networks, the repository exists to raise awareness about incidents of industrial pollution, and to campaign for ecological justice, and it can be divided into two distinct bodies of work:
Don’t Spit on the Plate You Eat off / Non Sputare Sul Piatto Dove Mangi is the title for an ongoing series of projects, which profiles incidents of pollution and resource exploitation in Italy. This project hopes to raise awareness of the environmental problems associated with these sites through the development of a form of inter-active story-telling, which is mediated through the photographic image. An AR app currently under development called Dissenso, which will provide the photographic subject with an opportunity to present their testimony to the audience using embedded audio content. In other instances, mineral samples taken from within the frame of the photograph can be compared against official data using infographs, in order to say something about how levels of pollution are being monitored in the region. This approach to visual storytelling has great potential for public engagement with science, and for advocacy campaigns in the NGO sector.
Toxic Legacies is the title for a range of projects, which examine the far-reaching consequences of industrial pollution for generations to come. The polluted topographies profiled in this body of work are often the result of historic industrial activates, which continue to have an impact on ecosystems in the present day. While sites of this nature may not represent an urgent environmental threat, they do provide an insight into the futural qualities of pollutants, which are being created in the present epoch. The projects in this series also share a preoccupation with the camera’s potential to reify the longue durée of industrial landscapes in the aftermath of productivity.
Conohar Scott is a lecturer in photographic theory and a practicing artist. His research interests concern the representation of industrial pollution in photography, and the application of art as a tool for environmental advocacy. As a critic, Conohar’s monograph ‘Photography & Environmental Activism: Visualising the Struggle against Industrial Pollution’ was published by Routledge in 2022. This publication makes ontological claims for photography and environmental activism in contemporary culture, while also tracing its origins.