The 23 Intervals

Trevor Van den Eijnden
Acrylics, and silver on canvas
91 x 91 cm
2009–2012

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The intention with The 23 intervals infographic is to make more apparent the connections I see between the chosen patterns shifting nature– human ideologies, and the socio-political landscapes of the Anthropocene. When finished, The 23 intervals will present a timeline of the Three Pillars of Sustainability (environmental, social, and economic) milestones since 1784 alongside milestones in literature, design, and art, against the chosen wallpapers (Table 01). The graph also charts the active lived baseline of my own life, starting in 1979, for I can only truly know, in an embodied way, how bad things have gotten since I have been alive.

 

The colouring is derived from a photograph of an exoatmospheric denotation event (a nuclear bomb in space) from October 1962 as part of the strangely named Operation Fishbowl Bluegill (also found at the centre of the infographic). I chose this because it resembles the first complete, clear image of the Earth from space, dubbed The Blue Marble, which was taken on my birth date (seven years earlier to the day) on 07 December 1972. The difference between the two images is that one pretends to speak to the futility of human existence in the vast expanse of space, while the speaks to our ability to render any pontification moot as it is a nuclear bomb exploding in space. The conflation this juxtaposition presents is the world I was born into that continues to go down the proverbial rabbit hole where the systems trapping us do not wish to control nature at all—they wish to use it till the end of profit. Or us. ¹²

  1. The two sentences at the end is a paraphrase of an impassioned discussion between my advisor, Fiona Bowie, and myself in August 2015. The thought was not my own at the time, but it is one that I now see reflected in my thinking around human–nature dichotomies and paradoxes and I have now adopted as my own.
  2. In another autobiographical note, Van den Eijnden is a curious, and awkward name most likely stemming from Napoleon’s census 1811. It translates to “Of the End”. The emphasis on the E is important as the 19th century south Dutch spelling transitions the word from the “end” of some thing to the End of all things. It would then appear that I am demarcated as being of the apocalypse in more ways than one.