The Chronicle of Gaia, 2019
In The Chronicle of Gaia, Carlijn Kingma takes us through the history of the growing disengagement of human beings from the intertwined and rooted whole of all that lives, to end in the present: the age in which humanity, after successive ideological crises, has become a geological actor with a major impact on the most basic and physical processes of Gaia, the living Earth. Her spiralling representation of this history begins with the creation of light, then moves to the smallest matter and the first living organisms, followed by the rise of different civilisations.
While the root of humanity is at first firmly planted in the Tree of Life at the heart of the spiral, closely knit with other lifeforms, the power of knowledge pushes it outward, and all other lifeforms aside. Nature becomes merely a theatre for human protagonists. Propelled by money and industry, immense towers soar aloft, empty frames symbolising irreconcilable ideologies, while around them the conditions for existence start collapsing. Gaia hits back with decay: natural disasters and pandemics. But behind this rotting façade, thinkers and activists are starting to explore new paradigms for humanity’s relationship with Earth.
At the end of the spiral we enter a new political arena, The Parliament of Things, after the idea of the French philosopher Bruno Latour. The drawing shows scientists and other experts representing not only the interests of human beings, but also those of the other 99.999% of earthly lifeforms, including plankton, bees and the North Sea, each with their own seat in the forum. Here, all storylines reconnect into a new fabric. In Kingma’s words: ‘It gets complicated, which is typical of a weave, but when we see Gaia as an intertwined whole, then suddenly everything matters.’
Listen to Carlijn's audio guide that takes you along through The Chronicle of Gaia.
Carlijn Kingma (1991, The Netherlands) graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology in 2016 with a prize-winning film based on 50 drawings. This reinforced her decision to practice her profession in a different way. Kingma creates large pencil drawings as a means of understanding the world around us, showing fictional, philosophical, historical, but most of all architectural worlds full of ideas, stories and suggestions. Mapping social, political and power structures, these worlds, although imaginary, can be recognised and read through the metaphorical language of architecture. They become alternative maps to the real world, tools for understanding and navigating it differently, and perhaps they can help us to find our way home or prevent us from becoming lost in the contradictions and complexity of modernity.
The Chronicle of Gaia, 2019
Rotring pen on paper, 96,3 x 96,3 cm