Delaney Feezell

The Paradox of the Heap is a philosophical concept which offers an analogy for

our current environmental crisis. In the paradox, one adds a single grain of sand to

another, one at a time, until eventually there is a giant heap of sand. No individual grain

is more responsible for creating the heap than any other, yet it is undeniable that there

is now a heap. A single grain of sand may seem inconsequential, but the whole cannot

exist without the individual. It is collective action which causes the outcome.

The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. The UN announced that we,

as a global community, have until 2030 to reverse the ever-advancing effects of climate

change — 10 years to narrowly avoid irreversible and disturbing repercussions. Even as

I grow more anxious for humanity’s future, I continue to live in comfort with a

constructed belief that I alone cannot be consequential against a society which is

engrossed in individual gratification. This cognitive dissonance is what I attempt to

make visible. This photographic series presents moments in time, which have

collectively, along with millions of other discrete acts, created an unprecedented, dire

situation. Our culture of convenience and consumerism has nearly brought us to a

breaking point.

I utilize photography and installation to confront the viewer with this

overwhelming situation. This series explores the individual’s relationship with their

waste and the lack of responsibility our culture feels toward shifting usage norms. A

photograph, in essence, is evidence — a memory. However, many of the photographs in

this piece are hidden or semi-concealed from the viewer to represent how many acts

against the environment are never remembered or accounted for. Photos are

presented in or with objects of cultural and consumeristic significance — trash bags,

grocery bags, packaging material, and others - receptacles which allow us to live

conveniently. Here, however, these objects house parcels of time, representative of

generations of environmental abuse and the time it will take for these materials to

decompose naturally. All trash objects included in the piece were collected or used at

one time by the artist — just a fraction of one person’s accumulated waste. I hope that

this personal detail will engage the viewer to consider their own consumption habits

and their contribution to the global Heap.