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U  P  S  T  R  E  A  M

By Antonio Briceño Linares



Global warming is driving our planet to dangerous extremes at a rate far faster than we imagined a decade ago. Locally, the last five years have been a sequence of record high temperatures that seems to go on and on. Catalonia has faced three consecutive years of droughts that have brought its water supply reservoirs to 25% of their capacity. The city of Barcelona is in a state of pre-emergency due to increasing water shortages. [1]


This extreme drought condition aggravates the vulnerable situation of many wildlife species, whose populations are in decline for numerous reasons, including habitat loss and pollution. For these threatened species, the hope of survival recedes with continued drought, as the restrictive measures adopted to ensure that urban and rural human populations have access to clean water for the foreseeable future do not solve the problem that the lack of rainfall poses to wild plant populations, to which the threat of high temperatures and fires must now be added.


The "upstream" project is based on the list of endangered species of the Generalitat de Catalunya[2]. Starting from this list of 109 species, a selection of no less than 30 will be made, whose herbarium images will be chosen from different herbaria worldwide (University of Barcelona, Royal Kew Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, etc.). These images will be digitally edited, to build a video in which, sheet by sheet, they will ascend from the bottom of the video, and then disappear. It will be a sort of fleeting resurrection of emblematic species that have been threatened by the current environmental conditions, especially by the accumulation of years of extreme drought. For this reason, the video, designed in black and white (the background being black and the image of the plant in question white), will have the inverted waters of a waterfall as a backdrop. This background can only be seen on the body of the plants, as it is white. These waters will rise from the ground (hence the title of the project) in an inverted video, alluding to the change of current that we must carry out as soon as possible, if we do not want these endangered plants to become just a bitter memory. The video, a loop lasting at least 15 minutes, will be an ascending parade of plants from the region whose fate is in our hands.


There is an urgent need for public awareness of a climate problem that has long since ceased to be apocalyptic speculation and has become a reality that we all perceive with increasing intensity, year after year. It is not only necessary to make a more conscious use of the most vital resource for living beings, but also to make structural changes at a personal, regional and global level, if we do not want this shameful list of endangered species to become a list of extinct species, with the consequent breakdown of all the trophic chains and natural flows around us.




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