Earthmakers pays homage to the approximately 3,500,000 million organisms that inhabit one square meter of British Columbia forest soil. The installation depicts over 5,000 soil organisms specific to a site on Northern Vancouver Island near Port McNeill. It is comprised of two hundred 24” x 33” photo-etchings printed on translucent sheets of Japanese Kozo paper.
A modular collage work, made of recycled forest products, that models the litter layer of the forest floor – from and beneath which the soil organisms depicted originate – also forms an integral part of installation. Comprised of twenty-five 31” x 31” units, the modular collage was installed in different configurations on the wall or floor, as may required by the installation site.
An area of decomposing cedar in the centre of the floor references a square meter of soil. An audio installation matching the rhythm of raindrops with the pounding of footsteps, recorded in Grand Central Station, New York, fills the exhibition space. An index is available to viewers detailing the scientific classification of each of the organisms – Order, Family, Genus and Species – and noting the source of the image matrices – whether drawn, photographed, printed, or computer generated.
Zeigler, Barbara and Joan Smith. “ Earthmakers: Photographs,” The Capilano Review, 2.19. Vancouver: Capilano Press Society, 1996. 32-58.
3. Earthmakers : Forest Floor, installation view of 18 panel mixed-media collage, 236.2 x 321.4 cm (7' 9” x 10' 3”), Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC, 1998. (B. Zeigler and J. Smith, collaborative work).
5. Earthmakers, installation view in foreground with interactive collaborative work by Zeigler and Smith tittled Groundwork done in collaboration with the public in the background, Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC, 1998.
12. Earthmakers , installation view of Forest Floor collage panels on walls. The projector in the foreground is part of the Devine Detritus installation by Zeigler & Smith done in collaboration with Malaspina University-College students and faculty , Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC, 1997.
13. Devine Detritus , Zeigler and Smith in collaboration with Malaspina University-College students and faculty, mixed media including paper, paint, ink, collage and image projection, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC, 1997.
15. Extensions: Stepping Stones II , installation view, combination etching, collagraph, and photocopy, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC, 1997. This is a collaborative work by Zeigler and Smith incorporating black and white etchings by Zeigler's third-year UBC students and by Peter Guzzo's 3 rd -grade Richmond, BC elementary students.
“Earthmakers speaks of the passage of time and the natural cycles of life and death: the continual, the interrupted, the altered and in some instances, the obliterated. Through this work we hope to activate a consciousness of the specific forest site referenced, and thereby serve to increase awareness of the essential part soil fauna play in the delicate life cycle of the forest and the Earth's ecosystem." (From Zeigler & Smith, Artists’ Statement, Earthmakers, Richmond Art Gallery, BC).