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"I want to draw attention to pressing environmental and social issues in such a way that our daily life reflects these concerns." - Anne de Carbuccia

Artist/environmentalist Anne de Carbuccia makes “time shrines,” integrating her fascination with ancient culture, art, and photography. She travels far and wide for her work, creating and staging time shrines in symbolically significant environments. In 2015, she founded the non-profit organization Time Shrine Foundation as a way to fund efforts to raise awareness and protect the environment. Her most recent show, ONE • One Planet One Future, runs until November 21 at Westbeth Center for the Arts. Run, don’t walk, to see it. It’s powerful. We spoke first over the phone, then over email.

Jamie Brisick: Tell me about your background in anthropology and art. How do these two fields of study blend together for you?

Anne de Carbuccia: I have always been fascinated by the behavior of our species in past and present societies, and particularly how they expressed themselves through art. I find it difficult to not associate both as I believe art is one of our first forms of expression and worship, probably even before speech.

JB: Your work involves extensive travel—where have you been?

AC: I have been to most continents except for Australia for my project. I am never sure whether I choose the location or the location chooses me. I often travel to very remote locations. Most of the time my trip is facilitated by allies who know of or follow my project and help me access these locations. Most of my work is solitary but I always have the right guide.

JB: How did the idea for the time shrines come about?

AC: I have always been fascinated by the concept of the shrine. Through my studies of anthropology and art history I have come to the conclusion that shrines were probably our first form of artistic expression. I find this combination of creating a shrine for what we both worship and fear fascinating. Shrines date back to the origins of humankind. Bringing them back today and reflecting on our origins to help us decide what we want for the future makes artistic sense to me.

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JB: What is the central theme or message of ONE • One Planet One Future?

AC: I want to draw attention to pressing environmental and social issues in such a way that our daily life reflects these concerns. I want to inspire empathy so that people care enough to take action—however small. Change is incremental but together we can make a difference to our shared future.

JB: Westbeth Center for the Arts was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Your show is the first since the disaster and subsequent renovation. Tell me about this.

AC: Westbeth’s Sculpture Room was completely flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Today, the high water mark of the flood is still visible throughout the space. The installation will reproduce the effect of the flood as a reminder of that event and a call to action as human-caused climate change continues to disrupt weather patterns.

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"Westbeth’s Sculpture Room was completely flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Today, the high water mark of the flood is still visible throughout the space." - Anne de Carbuccia
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JB: What is Time Shrine Foundation?

AC: Through photography, film, and art installations, the Foundation highlights human-caused threats to the planet and offers actionable solutions. I want to use art as a tool—an effective way to get at the root of the problem—to change hearts so that you don’t need to put a round-the-clock guard on a rhino. We want to inspire individual immediate action for change.

JB: Your work is environmentally focused? What pushed you in that direction? What do you hope to accomplish by making these pieces?

AC: If the planet keeps on evolving at the rate we are going, it may be completely reshaped by 2030. Drought, species extinction, overpopulation, and unsustainable consumption will just force the planet to start taking a different form. Is that what we want? Are these environmental issues, or a conversation about our future, our common future? Are we ready to let go of everything we know, love, admire, hate, and worship? My pieces address these questions in an artistic way. I hope, through my images, to find the keys to all people’s hearts. Make them stop for a couple minutes and reflect: What do we want next, and what do we want to leave behind for the future generations?

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Jamie Brisick is a writer, photographer, and director. He surfed on the ASP world tour from 1986 to 1991. He has since documented surf culture extensively. His books include Becoming Westerly: Surf Champion Peter Drouyn’s Transformation into Westerly Windina, Roman & Williams: Things We Made, We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations, Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow, and The Eighties at Echo Beach. His writings and photographs have appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He was the editor of Surfing magazine from 1998-2000, and is presently the global editor of Huck. In 2008 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. He lives in Los Angeles. For more of his work check out jamiebrisick.com & @jamiebrisick

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