We first met environmental artist Laurie Tumer while writing an article for Grist; plus we posted about her here. Not long ago, we dropped her a line, asking what's new and she returned with this brilliant update on her experience at the last Ecological Farming Conference. Here is her guest post. Some of her new photography is posted for your viewing pleasure. All of her images are copyrighted, so please do not copy or use them in another forum without Laurie Tumer's permission.
The Ecological Farming Conference, now in its 27th year, is organized for the organic farming industry. I had the honor of being invited to be a presenter at this year's conference, held at the Asilomar Conference Center near Monterey, California. Thomas Wittman, board member of the Ecological Farming Association, had seen an article about my photographic project Glowing Evidence, and asked me to show and speak about my still and holographic-like photographs that chart the invisible movement and settling of ubiquitous pesticides — those used on conventional farms and those that have found their way unwittingly into our homes and our bodies.
As the only artist among more than 150 speakers, I had a heightened sense of art's history and ability to assist in our very survival: by dazzling, revealing, alerting, and enlightening.
My education about pesticides and their health and environmental consequences began in 1998 when I experienced a pesticide poisoning at home after a company that advertised "organic pest control" sprayed synthetic pesticides instead. I had thought of myself as environmentally aware, but this crisis (which continues to impact my health) motivated me to deepen my understanding. When I learned more about pesticides, I needed visualizations where none exist so I could picture what was difficult to imagine. As an art photographer, I began to explore ways to make visible the invisible.
My visual curiosity led to illustrating information I learn that is generally under the radar, e.g., how the same pesticides used in agriculture are used for residential and commercial pest control, how they drift into our homes, reside in the blood and fat cells of our bodies, persist in conventionally grown food and fabrics, and occur in fetuses' amniotic fluid.
For more information about next year's conference visit http://eco-farm.org. Tapes and CDs from previous years' sessions are available. ::Laurie Tumer's website