THE ALBATROSS, St Jamestown Arts Center, Rhode Island, USA, 2023

The Albatross is a video installation concerned with the transmission of Avian Influenza as a symptom of degraded ecosystems attributed to human behaviour. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is interpreted as an intermedial interface, highlighting how human consumption and pandemics are interconnected. The work raises awareness of the invasive exploitation of the natural environment, creating pathological virus-lagoons that accelerate pandemic risk.

“Mathew Emmett’s The Albatross was the main focus in the exhibition, A Hard Rain’s Goin’ A Fall, curated by Lara Pan, March 2023. There is a beautiful seduction to the artwork that makes the viewer question what they’re actually seeing. I’ve watched many of our gallery guests become transfixed through the beauty of the artwork and watch it numerous times.”

“Emmett’s structural uses of art historical references such as Géricault’s The Raft of Medusa, 1819, draw in the viewer to the well-known image while he displays the butchering of the chickens. The dissection of the barn becomes an alluring, glittering temple to the slaughter. The viewer then feels a sense of remorse for even being enticed by such a place of carnage. The whole artwork makes the viewer question the cruel processes of the poultry industry after the aesthetically attractiveness of the imagery fades away and the brutal reality hits you like a punch to the gut. You can’t take your eyes off it.”

Karen Conway, Director of Exhibitions, Jamestown Arts Center, Rhode Island USA.

New York curator, writer and researcher, Lara Pan, explains, The exhibiting artists all have varied cultural, artistic, and scientific backgrounds; these interdisciplinary approaches provide an important lens to examine the scientific research on the possibility of mass extinction of our planet’s living organisms. The artists seek to investigate the idea of the complete disappearance of known life forms.

Curated by Lara Pan for A HARD RAIN’S A-GONNA FALL: An Intersection of Art and Science in collaboration with Jamestown Arts Center, 21 April – 15 June,2023.


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