intervention: Nitrogen 21





A minimalist intervention at 21 sites in Australia’s national capital on 19 September 2015 highlighted the necessity for, at least momentary, awareness of Nitrogen production. Depletion of Nitrogen fixation in the soil, among other degenerative practices, continues to happen while escalation of air pollution by Nitrogen Oxides - as smoke and smog due to non-stop high-temperature combustion, exhaust gases from vehicles, biogenics and industrial processes - is evident.


21 identical white, vinyl decals of the letter N, symbol for the chemical element Nitrogen, were placed for 21 seconds at 21 sequential exterior public locations including near the Department of the Environment.


N’s zigzag shape has inherent ingress / egress implications that can translate as ‘a way in’ and ‘a way out.’


Nitrogen 21 addressed the timeliness of being attentive to Nitrogen’s impact on the Earth’s climate to restore / enhance the agricultural potential of the land and improve the quality of the air. Situational rather than site specific, this intervention interacted within the locale, yet the project also can resonate within the broader, international community as a documented, graphic form of passive activism.




From 30 November to 10 December 10 2015, Paris will host the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21). These are imperative talks in negotiating vital international agreements on climate with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. Nitrogen 21 is part of ArtCOP21 - Agenda culturel Paris Climat 2015 - an organization which brings together cultural and artistic initiatives and maps climate-related events happening across Paris and worldwide. It is a platform for change and represents a global movement endorsed and supported by the Secretariat General of the COP21.


Nitrogen 21 was one of the first events held in conjunction with ArtCOP21.







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related data:

Wade Davis, The Wayfinders (Toronto: Anansi Press Ltd. 2009)

Peter Andrew, Back from the Brink: How Australia’s Landscape Can Be Saved (ABC Books 2006)

Tim Flannery, environmentalist, global warming activist and one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change