The installation Crystal Forests consists of five ice-shard-like sculptures, which shapes were inspired by the image of a nuclear-powered submarine rising to the surface and through the frozen ice cap of the North Pole. Around the submarine’s tower, the ice floes have formed like pieces of broken glass. In B&B’s sculptures, the broken glasses are UV-printed with images that together form a broken 360° panorama of a forest landscape.
The title Crystal Forests originates from JG Ballard’s 1966 book The Crystal World in which a leper doctor travels on a river in Cameroon into a jungle stricken with a disease. Trees and animals have begun to crystallise and turn into precious stones. Successively, the plague spreads to other parts of the world and nature undergoes a total transformation where even the people are caught in crystallised shells as they greedily try to harvest the newfound riches.
Today, nature faces a similar threat as human-generated carbon dioxide emissions create rising temperatures and dramatic changes at all levels of the biosphere. Part of the solution to this problem is now being tested in Iceland, where carbon dioxide is captured from the air with large fans and then pumped into the bedrock in liquid form. Iceland consists largely of porous volcanic basalt where the liquid carbonic acid reacts with minerals and the carbon is transformed into calcite, a white crystal that is forever trapped in the cavities of the bedrock. 200–300 million years ago, this carbon dioxide was huge forests on earth which, over millions of years, were compressed into the oil and coal humanity quickly burned up. Now this carbon dioxide genie must again be chained to the mountain of deep time and thus help to slow down the galloping greenhouse effect. A beautiful thought but a techno-utopian dream.