interview Pom Harrington
ETIENNE VERBIST : Why did you choose for Frieze Masters the title : ONE HUNDRED SECONDS TO MIDNIGHT ?
POM HARRINGTON :Our exhibition at Frieze Masters this year is centred around a landmark and unparalleled collection of original works charting the history of climate change by the world’s greatest scientists, writers, and activists. Drawing a line from Aristotle to Attenborough, One Hundred Seconds to Midnight – Sounding the Alarm for Climate Change documents the key works, concepts, and the first usage of terminology such as “the greenhouse effect” and “global warming” that have shaped our understanding of the modern environmental movement.
ETIENNE VERBIST :What do you show at Frieze Masters ?
POM HARRINGTON :Alongside the collection, our Frieze exhibition catalogue also brings together a selection of exceptional rare books and manuscripts, many of which also reflect ecological and environmental concerns.
ETIENNE VERBIST :Do you have work related to the industrial revolution and their consequences climate related ?
POM HARRINGTON : Absolutely ,the industrial revolution kick-started global warming as we know it today. Malthus’s hugely influential Essay on the Principle of Population (item 14) reflects early concerns on how increasing the human population will inevitably strip the planet of its resources. Dickens’s opening chapter in Bleak House (item 18) reflects the pollution of urban living caused by industrialization: “Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city”.
In a rejection of the smog and sweeping industrialization of the Victorian era, William Morris, one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement, founded
the Kelmscott Press: the pinnacle of his achievement, the Kelmscott Chaucer, was a masterpiece of printing and book production (item 19). Just a few years after its printing, a set of photographic glass plates of the moon were captured during the first large-scale photographic survey of the moon by the Observatoire de Paris (item 20) – a rare and fragile survival of this early lunar exploration.
Increases in global temperature caused by climate change will put stress on our water resources. A key development in the modernization of Saudi Arabia, a water-poor country, was a major engineering project in 1947, upgrading the water supply to Jeddah to improve water security for the Hajj (item 28).