Interview with Kalie Granier.
What inspired your work?
Since childhood, I had a very close connection with nature. I grew up close to the Mediterranean Sea. This close bond nurtured my work when I moved to Paris and I often referred to it through my paintings.
For the past few years, I have been living in California near the ocean, redwood forests, and majestic nature. I got inspired by a renewed vision on plants and especially on those growing under the sea level. I developed a new relationship with living things and wild nature. Now, it's a joy to directly experiment and create with natural and raw materials.
How did you discover the importance of algae?
I go to the ocean every day, it’s like a ritual. I like to harvest what the waves drop on the sand, and more particularly the algae. They have surprising shapes and colors from olive green to red or golden. They inspire me a lot and their story is so old and powerful. Actually, we know more about what is happening on the planet Mars than under our oceans. Artists and scientists have worked a lot on the animal realm but very little on the plant realm. Algae were part of the first living things to appear on earth. They are at the origin of the largest underwater ecosystems. Moreover, they also deliver a large quantity of oxygen to the earth and captures carbon dioxide. These forests, which can be up to 50 meters high, are essential to our survival. For my projects, I often work with local scientists and environmentalists who maintain my learning.
Tell us about the process during the residency at Maritima 01?
My project relates to Posidonia Oceanica, an herb endemic to the Mediterranean Sea which has properties similar to Kelp. Like the kelp forests, the Posidonia meadows are on the verge of extinction. As part of this residency, I am working in close dialogue with scientists from the Idemar institute in Valencia in Spain. This new approach inspires me for new creative projects including video. I work in collaboration with a Mediterranean diver, a dancer and the musician Gabo Lora to make this video.
This film is a shamanic dance that explores the underwater movement of the Marine Plant Posidonia Oceanica as a quest for survival. The movie depicts the spiritual journey of a hybrid being's metamorphosis into a creature half-human half plant. At the border of two living species. This project sits at the intersection of art, performance, science, ecological commitment, and our actions in the face of global warming.
Making art is also a way of coming to understand reality. In this sense do you notice a difference in your understanding of nature in moving from working with human-made materials to raw found materials? Is there a new depth to your artistic process?
Artists are by nature highly sensitive to the world they evolve in and their work is responsive to cultural background and time being. They address and question major issues in contemporary society through their practices. In the Anthropocene era, the artistic gesture should take on the crucial challenge to raise awareness and to call to action. Working with seaweed I harvest on beaches is for me a powerful way to elaborate and create a poetic and sensitive understanding of my environment.
How do you view the role of ritual in shifting peoples' consciousness and how do you view its relationship to art?
I think rituals allow us to establish interaction and reciprocity with other living beings. Our relationship to nature and other living things is nowadays desperately lacking sensitivity and compassion. We have an oppressive relationship with the ecosystems that nourish us, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. How did this happen?
Art is a powerful way to reclaim our sensitivity. Art can also be seen and understood as a ritual, a homage, paid to other living beings. It awakens our senses, our emotions, and brings joy and liveliness back. It is up to us to be innovative and create our contemporary rituals in order to change our relationship to the world we live in.
Loud Spring presents us with an emerging community of ecofeminist thinkers. How can we collaborate to turn around this global crisis?
Loud Spring is a call for awareness and action addressing social and environmental injustices. I co-founded this eco-feminist artistic collective in San Francisco just 1 year ago. This art tank was born from my meeting with art historian Élodie Vidal, Loud Spring grew a lot since then, now gathering at its core 6 creative and engaged team members sharing the same ecofeminist values. Through collaborative art performances, we intend to question the major contemporary societal and environmental issues. Loud Spring claims a new model of society that would function as a sustainable, respectful, and equitable synergy between nature and humans. Little by little, by discussing with loved ones, changing our habits, and collaborating together on initiatives for a better future we tend to reverse this global crisis. I invite you to follow us and to join our participatory and collaborative artistic events.