Benera and Estefan

Proxy Climates, 2019 - ongoing
installation (pollen grains, bio resin, sand), variable dimensions

In the midst of the planetary biodiversity crisis, vegetation is slowly vanishing in many regions of the world. This prompts us to ask how to read the environment from weather patterns to soil and plants. What traces are archived for future study? 

Pollen is a palaeoclimatic proxy, used in climate reconstruction and understanding of global climate dynamics. With its diverse range of climate sensitivities, it is an indicator of past vegetation changes.  Since 2019  Benera & Estefan have been collecting pollen grains from dry land regions in the process of desertification, where vegetation is slowly vanishing. The artist duo started with the Oltenian Sahara in Southern Romania, then extended the research to other regions across Europe (such as Serbia, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Spain). The Mediterranean region is an area particularly vulnerable to climate change due to its sensitivity to drought. 

The collected pollen particles are archived and presented in the shape of geological core samples. The project aims to preserve the plant's genetic material and memory of disappearing flora, while also serving as possible scientific material for future paleoclimatic studies. 

text by Daphne Dragona

                                                                                                                                           The Sahara of Romania
                                                                                                                                           Dabuleni village, 2018

Paleoclimatology relies on proxy records like ice core, 
deep-sea drilling, or pollen samples,
to reconstruct past climates, from decades to millions of years.

Pollen grains are nature’s record-keepers.