mycarboncredits (2010)

 

mycarboncredits is a series of 1,838 image files. Each represents one tree. Photographs of the trees, one by one, were burnt on separate compact discs. They become visible as a ring at the CD’s center. The image data’s iridescent traces are photographed close-up, resulting in macroscopic pictures that distill the portrayed trees into abstract color gradients. Named after the actual trees they represent, the individual digital form of the images allow each tree to be traced and localized in its digital material footprint.

 

mycarboncredits slide show

 

mycarboncredits vs. carbon credits

The conceptual core of mycarboncredits lies in the transformation of the real-life tree into an alternate, material form. The latter can be considered a symbol for the CO2 sequestration process in relation to the usual commodification resulting from the carbon credits system: in financial terms, a carbon credit is a tradable commodity that represents a certain amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. While its title directly refers to the topic, the project takes a lateral approach, creating a reciprocal relation between the geographic mapping of the real-life trees and the materiality of their digital proxies.

 

Critique of the Economy of Validation

The official validation for certified carbon offset projects is a cost intensive process. High expenses are due to the involvement of experts and commissioning fees for certifying bodies.  This puts ecological, biodiversity, small - scale reforestation at a disadvantage in favor of less ecological, large scale monoculture developments. myforestfarm calls attention to this imbalance with artistic means. myforestfarm is suggesting its own validation method: Rather than delegating the approval of the quality standard to certifying bodies, myforestfarm invites the viewer to evaluate the project. myforestfarm delegates agency to the beholder.

 

Identification, Validation and Verification

The possibility of locating each tree with an exact GPS coordinate is essential and part of the validation method. As few people have seen the actual site, the images function as the trees’ public representatives. In that respect, the mycarboncredits image series determines the existence of myforestfarm — an interdependency that stands in for the commodification process of the common carbon credit.