In this edition celebrating five years of action, aiming to innovate and grow with the scope of the proposed work, the artist Thiago Cóstackz envisioned an International Expedition that visited 10 severely threatened places on Earth, passing through four continents. Once again using art as a vehicle for environmental discourse, he installed artworks on these endangered sites, and produced them entirely with certified organic materials, making a direct connection with these problems, calling attention to the need for preservation and also warning about the seriousness of the situation found in these locations. It was the first artistic and scientific expedition undertaken around the world ever known; a pioneering effort that used art and scientific information as vehicles in the democratization of scientific information, environmental evidence in the service of environmental education.
The SOS Earth 2013 expedition ran approximately 62,333 km, passing through: Asia, Europe, North and South America, even reaching regions in the Arctic Ocean, the vast ice cap of Greenland (the largest ice mass on Earth after Antarctica); the Permafrost in eastern Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia (a permanently frozen soil full of methane gas that has recently begun to melt surprising scientists), the Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland (Europe’s largest) where Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake is located (that grew 4 times in size since 1970 due to global warming), the cities of Venice / Italy and Amsterdam / Netherlands as examples of places that could face big problems in the future or even disappear with the melting of glaciers and the rise of sea levels. In Brazil the expedition visited the Caatinga (an endemic Biome in the countryside of Brazilian Northeast and one of the most threatened by desertification in the world), the South Atlantic corals in the northeastern coast between Fernando de Noronha and Touros in Rio Grande do Norte State and even the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil, the Amazon Forest in the north and São Paulo, placed here as a city where lifestyle threatens its own existence.
The size of the works and the difficulty of access the localities
Unlike the huge urban interventions that the artist often held in big cities like São Paulo, the works installed at these locations had considerably reduced their size for several reasons: The first is that the sites were difficult to access. Many were only accessible through different means of transport (car, boat and airplane) and it was still necessary in some cases to walk for 18 km in a single day, including mountain climbing over a thousand meters in altitude, with works of art and other filming equipment attached to the backs of team members. There was no intent to harm or interfere with big art installations at the visited sites (already threatened and fragile environments), in the case of Russia, for example, there was still an aggravating factor: a complex legislation banning art installations and “protests” involving themes of the environment and Human Rights. And more importantly, the bigger artworks required an increase in raw materials used to produce them, including even greater amounts of fossil fuels to transport them across several continents. So we work within our means, respecting the size limits of the artworks according to each site.
The expedition members were professionals from different fields: André Lazzari: 35 years old, volunteer and official translator of the action in the following languages: English, Russian, Icelandic, Spanish and Italian; Felipe Cavalheiro: 29 years old, volunteer and producer of the S.O.S. Earth 2013 actions in São Paulo and worldwide, and Patricia Alves: 29 years old, International Relations student and volunteer who performed multiple tasks in the project. All traveled as volunteers.
“To show you that what you do matters, what you do in your city reverberates even in the most remote ecosystems, we decided to visit 10 threatened places on Earth. Let me say something about these places, they are not necessarily the most threatened, nor the most beautiful and the most deadly, but they all carry the human fingerprints in their destinations, either by direct or indirect interferences or ever accelerating natural cycles.”
To learn more about the expedition watch in HD documentary