The milking carousel takes you around the topic of ammonia pollution. It does this by looking at the connection between the cow and the lichen, Xanthoria Parietina.
In the work, Jurel highlights the interconnectedness between these beings and what role the neoliberal farming industry has in this. Specifically, the milking carousel serves as an example of Dutch efficiency within the dairy industry, leading to an exponential increase in the number of cows. Consequently, this intensified farming practice has resulted in a significant rise in ammonia emissions. As Xanthoria Parietina grows well in areas with higher levels of ammonia pollution, the presence of this lichen can be an indicator of the dairy industry’s impact on the environment.
Trough bio indicating one can indicate the state of the environment using non-human beings. Throughout the research Jurel visited many different farms where she focused on a method of bio indicating where one looks at lichen growth on oak trees. With the deacidifying of the tree bark due to ammonia, different lichen species will start to grow on the tree. We can indicate ammonia pollution when Xanthoria Parietina is growing on an oak tree, as it would normally not grow on them.
With this method of bio indicating you go around the tree, looking at it with detail and from every angle. Jurel proposes that this can be an act of “Passionate Immersion” into the life of the non-human subject being studied. By using photogrammetry, a technique where you go around a subject and take pictures of it from every angle, she asks the viewer to do the same, to go around the lichen, to zoom in and out, to Immerse and with this, to go around the topic of ammonia pollution.
Within her research, Jurel got inspired by the lichen, as it is a fascinating organism. When you look closely, worlds unfold. By using photogrammetry on a microscopic scale, the structures of the lichen are revealed, and a small part of its world becomes visible.
The circularity of the installation resembles the efficiency mentality, always going forward. When one looks closely, the clockwise spinning turns around when the cow is coming back from the milking carousel. Perhaps it is time for a shift in the efficiency mentality. Perhaps it is time to learn from non-human beings like Xanthoria Parietina.
The milking carousel aims to help indicate ammonia pollution and serves as an invitation to dive into this multispecies connectedness.
How many more rounds in the milking carousel must the cow endure before the oak tree turns completely yellow?