It is that which at this instant, issuing out of a labyrinthine tangle of yeses and no’s, makes my hand run along a certain path on the paper, mark it with these volutes that are signs: a double snap, up and down, between two levels of energy, guides this hand of mine to impress on the paper this dot, here, this one. – Primo Levi, “Carbon,” from The Periodic Table (1975)
Invited by the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum and Patel College of Sustainability, and as part of the Global Sustainability Speaker Series artist-researchers Karolina Sobecka and Jamie Allen deliver a literary cycle of Carbon. Emerging from the Cycles of Circulation project, This Cycle, Here, This One is a cyclical discussion in six sections for element number six which includes a hands-on element: the audience is asked to re-draw the carbon cycle, based on personal encounters with its materiality.
If there is a universe in every word, each atom also creates its own narrative. In this performance lecture spanning a contemporary history of its composition, markets and capture, a literary cycle of Carbon is developed in moving images, films, archival materials, text and diagrams. The use and abuse of cycles as models of exchange and circulation are examined for their appropriateness and applicability, and new models are proposed for our relationship to this building block of life, petroculture and capitalism.