26 January 2022 We’re just a blip in history, us humans. On a geological time-scale, in what’s called ‘deep time’, we’ve barely been around for the blink of an eye. But boy have we managed to wreak havoc on the planet in that short period.
Noémie Goudal’s art is all about that blip, about how despite the earth having been around for literally billions of years, it’s taken just a few thousand for us to screw it all up. In the main film installation here, images of a forest rise and fall out of a stagnant swamp, soundtracked by the grinding of rocks. It’s nature moving, evolving, growing right in front of your eyes, like watching millions of years of time pass by in an instant.
Upstairs, waves crash against static images of rocks - a clever combination of projection and photography - and a grove of palm trees is bisected and split apart in an installation of perspex sheets. All of these works are great, clever, sombre things.
The ceramics on display - all of different forms of globes - are comparatively ignorable and you sort of wish they weren’t here, while the photos of mountains sliced in half are a little too obvious and cliched to work.
But at it’s best, Goudal’s work dwarfs you, makes you think about your relative insignificance in the grand scheme of time, shows you that nature and history are infinitely bigger than you. But simultaneously, she also makes you feel acutely anxious about your impact on it all as a member of the endlessly destructive human race. If we’re here for a good time, not a long time, maybe we should start being a little more considerate.