Muddy Waters – Heather Komus
Muddy Waters is an exploration of Manitoban ecosystems in the globalised world. It deals with species change, invasive species and the intricate network of an ecosystem. The work was originally inspired by reading of the sighting in Manitoba of craspedacusta sowerbyi, a fresh water jellyfish originally from the Yangtze River in China. Craspedacusta sowerbyi are certainly not the first jellyfish in Manitoba as 450 million years ago there was a shallow sea near Churchill that was teeming with jellyfish, squid-like creatures, crinoids, corals, sea scorpions and sea spiders. As a result of climate change and globalization some jellyfish have spread far from their original habitats and their populations are on the rise, particularly in areas that are overfished. As reporter Bartley Kives said, “As fish and seafood species continue to disappear from the oceans at the hands of overfishing, human beings may be returning the oceans to a state that existed before the evolution of bony fishes: a world where simple creatures like jellyfish dominate the seas.” We set up situations for invasive species through global trade and travel and they often let loose with a wild, unrestrained tenacity. Organisms are engineered for fierce, hostile competition. By covering my work with dominant buck musk I assert the power of the boreal forest and a local species. As I pierce squids, intestine or handmade fibres I am violently exploring the chaos and permeability of every ecosystem. Organisms and their interactions are never fixed, static or truly classifiable. Every system is immensely complex, constantly flowing, shifting and changing.