Crip Ecologies (2022)

Image Credit: Arlo Lawton[4 images at slightly different angles of about 30 clear glass bottles of a variety of sizes. The bottles have black caps are arranged on a white shelf in a rectangular glass vitrine that hangs on a white wall. Each bottle has a printed white label with a date, a few bottles have labels with names. Each is filled with liquid that ranges from clear to yellow or orange and different shaped natural materials; some delicate and spindly, some filling the bottom of the bottle.]

“RA Walden’s Crip Ecologies (2022) archives the artist’s limited involvement with the natural world due to their disability. The glass bottles are filled with collected natural items including seedpods, rosehips, dead spiders and woodlice, twigs, algae, snail shells, flowers, bark and berries. These items have been submerge in alcohol. In some bottles the liquid is clear, in others it has been stained yellow, orange and brown. Many of the chosen objects and creatures are easily overlooked or taken for granted, but here they are treated as precious objects. The glass of the jars magnifies and distorts tiny seed pods, spindly insect legs, and the stamens of flowers, drawing attention to beautiful details.

Crip Ecologies uses the process of archiving to comment on the increased value of object as they become harder to access. There is meticulous care and tenderness in RA Walden’s archiving. The bottles are carefully labelled with names and dates, acting as a system of remembering. Held in stasis in the alcoholic solution, these specimens are preserved in the face of biodiversity loss and the wider climate crisis. Crip Ecologies links the fragility of the body to the fragility of our ecosystems, exploring the vulnerability of both.”

Eloise Bennett for On Queer Ground, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2022