barbara claussen | art

CO2 in my Backyard

 

During a three-month residency at the Regionalmuseum in the medieval city of Beeskow, Germany I began a project called "CO2 in My Backyard" that deals with people's opinions regarding the carbon dioxide capture and storage that will dramatically impact this region of Germany. Experiments in the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, believed to mitigate climate change, have unexpectedly raised the possibility of the injection of thousands of tons of CO2 under people's backyards. Private citizens who live above the right mix of geological layers of porous and permeable rocks are wondering about the future, their rights, and what politicians will decide. In Brandenburg, Germany experiments in CCS (capture, compression and storage) by Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, have ignited radical responses.

During my residency I revisited the idea of the medieval marketplace as a meeting place for the exchange of ideas as well as commerce. Once a week for several months I set up a table in the Beeskow market in order to dialogue with patrons about the CO2 controversy. I positioned myself between the Vattenfall CCS information office and the city hall where a large sign that read, "Kein CO2 Endlager " (No CO2 storage) was draped over the balcony. I displayed a map of the region and asked passersby to inject pins into the map where they thought carbon dioxide should be placed. This question elicited animated responses from shoppers. I am maintaining a written record of these opinions.