Trophy of our Consequences
“Trophy of our Consequences” 2021
Medium: Sculpture Found Object, Expanding foam, Acrylic paint, Flat medium coat
For years Cutaneous Fibromas otherwise known as ‘‘Deer Warts” have been common through many different Cervidae species across the North American Continent. But ever since the 1980’s when harsher pesticides were introduced into crops across North America, there has been an ever-increasing spike in report cases of Deer Warts. Though a large portion of deer survives this naturally, the introduction of pesticides increases the chance for Deer Warts to develop on the body. With that, these warts grow to an immense size and spread rapidly on the body. With this occurring more and more deer nationwide are starting to die from this infection. Cause of death by starvation, as this infection, causes blindness, and immobility to be able to eat properly. With dwindling water resources in North America, this has caused a higher chance of contact with pesticides entering the drinking water for deer populations. I hope this piece can raise awareness on this increasing issue occurring in North America and shed some light on the hidden issues in the agriculture industry.
About The Artist
Cody Norton is an Elgin, Texas-born artist. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Post Studio Practices at the University of Colorado Boulder. As an interdisciplinary artist, he is discovering the ways humankind has disrupted and intervened in ecosystems across North America. To have the human experience intertwine with nature's experience of humankind’s destruction. Cody received his BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of North Texas in the fall of 2020. He has exhibited internationally in many cities including São Paulo, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Denton, Fort Worth, and Boulder. He recently was published in Voyage magazine twice, as a local Dallas-Fort Worth inspiring story, and a Shout Out DFW article highlighting his art and educational career. Along with that, he was just named as one of Dallas-Fort Worth's top 30 emerging artists 2020-2021.
Sir David Attenborough already stated, many species have struggled as their habitats have shrunk, and climate change and pesticide use have taken their toll. We know it’s not only bees that are harmed by pesticides but that the routine use of chemicals harms birds, frogs, hedgehogs, wild plants, and wider nature. It seems to have slipped under our radar of awareness that in our pursuit of high-yield agricultural practices we’re ruthlessly killing everything that poses a threat to our pursuit of modern profitable agri-business. The names of the chemicals used in pesticides don’t even mask what they’re designed to do: insecticides kill insects, herbicides kill unwanted plants, and fungicides kill fungi/molds – all declared as “pests” by our modern species homo economicus, hence we collectively name them “pesticides”. The problem with pesticides is that they do not only kill “pests”. Other wild species and habitats are harmed too as most chemicals are broad-spectrum, meaning they affect more than just the intended target “pest”. And due to the abundance of pesticides in fields, streets, parks, and watercourses it’s easy for wildlife to come into contact with these chemicals nowadays as they roam these areas.
Remarkably, the pesticides market is dominated by only a small handful of companies: BASF, Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, Corteva (formerly Dow and DuPont), FMC, and Syngenta, as a United Nations report, states that their hazardous products have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health, and society as a whole”. Pesticides play a key role in fossil fuel-dependent farming systems, with agriculture being directly responsible for 14% of total GHG emissions. Some pesticides even use oil and gas industry products as key ingredients. It’s that spread of unsustainable industrial agriculture systems during the 20th century that has created complex ecological problems worldwide,
It’s ironic to see now that the very industry that’s been trying to save crops and kill pests for decades causes exactly the opposite: it aggravates the climate crisis that causes massive crop losses due to extreme weather events, and in turn provides a more habitable environment for many types of insects - resulting in more pests, more crop damage, and increased diseases. Time to return to the roots of traditional farming isn’t it?