“My process begins with deep observation of people and ecological contexts, observations made both with my eyes and sensations in my body. I embed myself in cultural practices in order to form deep connections and understanding.”
About The Artist
Diana Heise holds an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY and a BA in Art History from Vassar College. She is an Assistant Professor of Photography and Filmmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute. She lives and works in North Hero VT, Kansas City MO and Beau Bassin Mauritius and has exhibited her work in galleries and festivals internationally including at the Brooklyn Museum, the Kemper Museum, the Film Anthology Archives, Cantor Art Center, Institut Français de Maurice, Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, Des Moines Art Center, the H&R Block Artspace, Drain and Cinemazzurro, Ancona Italy, among others.
Diana Heise’s practice engages video, photography, performance, installation, film, writing, sculpture, public intervention, social practice and sound, to explore the connective potential and paradoxes of our collective cultural and environmental existence. As an artistic practitioner and aesthetic interventionist, Diana Heise’s process often begins with the deep observation of people within ecological contexts. Embedding herself within a cultural practice, Heise observes both through her eyes and sensations in her body, allowing her to form intuitive connections. Most recently in Mauritius, where she has learned the local Kreol, Heise has been entrenched in projects that address the cultural heritage movement and ecological concerns of the area.
About The Work
The Sea We Make/Lamer Nou Fer generates aesthetic experiences to bear witness to shifts caused by climate change. The project addresses lagoon ecology encircling the African isle of Mauritius as an indicator of grave impacts. Ocean acidification and other environmental degradation are rapidly destroying the corals, which are the basis of the lagoon ecosystem. This includes the artisanal fishing traditions, historically connected to populations who were recently released from slavery and indenture. These impacts are primarily caused by the overuse of fossil fuels, of which the US is one of the greatest contributors.
Since the inception of this project, Heise has worked closely with local activist Stefan Gua. With his help, she has been conducting interviews, collecting and producing imagery and generating partnerships with local and international experts to garner better understanding. He also contributed a song for the work.
Seeded was performed in July 2016. On the coast of Mauritius, I planted 35 mangrove trees as a symbolic act against climate change. Mangroves are known for their high CO2 absorption abilities and symbiotic relationship to coral and juvenile fish.
The primary perpetrator for our current environmental troubles are countries with a large consumption of fossil fuels, of which the USA is second in the world. Exercising my rights as an American citizen for this global concern, the House Subcommittee on the Environment and US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works are the primary target audience for Seeded. Combining research and images from the project, I am producing a handwritten letter campaign, explaining the performative action that I have made to address the rapidly increasing global effects of climate change. In exchange I am asking the elected officials to take steps in their realms of power to address climate change and support the Paris Climate Summit resolution.