Fossilized Houston began in 2015 as a partnership between Houston artists and environmentalists that sought to make the environmental consequences of our actions visible on a day-to-day level. We commission local artists to contribute images (drawings, paintings, collages and murals) of species endangered by climate change, which formed a public art campaign of hundreds lawn signs and thousands of posters and stickers. Our work has since expanded to other collaborations with artists, community organizations, and interdisciplinary courses at Rice University that generate conversations, create thoughtful art, and produce interactive installations. Among other projects, a recent example includes a collaboration with DiverseWorks Tiny Art Salon at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, where Fossilized Houston hosted Meet the Future, an interactive exhibit that invited participants to think about the future of extinction both in a biological and technological sense.
Houston is home to over 5,000 energy companies, a thriving arts community, and situated on an industrialized coast, making it just the place to start a conversation about climate change at the intersection of art, science, and social action. Accordingly, Fossilized Houston seeks to elevate the level of conversation about climate change in a community that is steeped in activities that significantly contribute to climate change. Our goal is to contribute to an enhanced intellectual and emotional awareness about climate change and the ongoing mass extinction, and constructively push decision-makers in energy companies, city planners, and individual citizens to reconsider collectively destructive yet normative behaviors. And as Aldo Leopold noted, "We stand guard over works of art, but species representing the work of aeons are stolen from under our noses." It's time to stand guard.
Fossilized in Houston would not exist without the support of the Idea Fund, a re-granting program administered by a partnership of DiverseWorks, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses and funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Rice University's Moody Center for the Arts; the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University (CENHS); and Rice University's Strategic Initiatives fund. In addition, Copy.com and Free Press Houston have provided generous in-kind donations.