The cover art for this issue was taken from Fiona Banner’s 2020 project, Full Stop, an intervention developed in collaboration with the environmental campaign group Greenpeace.
The pandemic has made us more alert to the precariousness of nature, at a time when words like ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ have been repeated to the point of diluting their urgency, this work is a message – a call to stop, reconsider and act. Language is the medium of treaties, argument, debate and agreement. The Full Stop sculptures are anti-texts. They are symbols of language on the precipice that are blown-up, made physical and confrontational. The Full Stops symbolise an impasse and crisis in language. They highlight the slipperiness of communication in a time of polarised rhetoric during which the term post-truth is common vernacular. In this instance, the disjunction between what a marine protected area stands for and the reality of what is happening in those areas. It makes those agreements absurd and represents a rupture in language. Working with this extraordinary stone, densely formed by natural forces, it became clear how it resists human intervention. Like human versus nature, the stone is only half tamed and half formed into full stop shapes. It retains part of its natural form, redolent of eons of bouldering around on the planet. Nature is strong but fragile, it cannot bend to our will ad infinitum.
Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press
This Sculpture symbolises our Government’s abject failure to protect our most important marine habitats from destructive and illegal fishing. Marine protected areas like the Dogger Bank are protected in name only. Our boulder barrier will keep bottom trawlers out of almost 50 square miles of the Dogger Bank, but for our oceans to be properly protected, the Government must step in. We can’t do it all. The Government should put a big full stop on destructive and illegal fishing in our protected areas, period.
Philip Evans, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK
Photography by Suzanne Plunkett