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Biostrata (after Von Humboldt)

The naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt proposed that humans were creating climate change back in 1800. Biostrata (after Von Humboldt)  interweaves footage shot around the world to explore his statement that ‘everything is interaction and reciprocal’.


The video is inspired by Alexander Von Humboldt’s drawings from his 5-year fieldtrip to Latin America, 200 years ago.  They were simple diagrams trying to represent super-complexity and inter-connectedness. This video attempts to do the same in the post-digital age. Biostrata layers original sound and imagery from diverse locations across South Korea, China, Japan, Germany and the UK – shown on screen by their GPS co-ordinates. The footage was shot in diverse weather and climatic situations, including a typhoon.


Biostrata reveals ‘biodiversity’ at micro and macro levels. Biodiversity is often framed in human terms rather than the actual species profound understandings of their space/place continuum. In Biostrata human activity is omnipresent (by sound or structures), but almost always offscreen. Recurrent themes such as bird life and insects (key biodiversity indicators), trains, and water are used as metaphors/metonyms for movement and flows that underpin the complexity of our planet, and how it might be both helped and hindered by humans.

It was shown at the Royal Geographical Society in 2019, and discussed in the MIRAJ journal (2022).

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