Proxy Climates

Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan

21 October 2019

Six objects (pollen cores) 50 x 7 cm diameter Part of the work was commissioned by Onassis Stegi for “Weather Engines” (2022)

In the midst of the planetary biodiversity crisis, vegetation is slowly disappearing in many regions of the world. This begs the question of how to read the environment from weather patterns to soil and plants. What traces are archived for future studies? Pollen is a palaeoclimatic proxy, used in climate reconstruction and understanding global climate dynamics. With its diverse range of climate sensitivities, it is an indicator of past changes in vegetation. Since 2019, Benera & Estefan have been collecting pollen grains from dry regions undergoing desertification, where vegetation is slowly disappearing. The artist duo started with the Oltenian Sahara in southern Romania and then extended the research to other regions of Europe, including Greece. The Mediterranean region is an area particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its sensitivity to drought. The collected pollen particles are archived and presented as geological core samples. The project aims to preserve the genetic material of plants and the memory of extinct flora, while serving as potential scientific material for future palaeoclimatic studies.