Jacobus Capone’s Forewarning project documents physical actions in environments that have become fragile through time and human activity. While the individual acts emerge from a reverence for the landscape and are imbued with religiosity, they also foreground the expanding and irreversible rift between humanity and nature. Once referenced by Capone as a series of ‘farewells’, the project displays a foreboding tone akin to the final goodbye of a loved one before their death.
Capone began the project by documenting a personal act at the Larsbreen glacier on the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole. Kneeling on the ground, he placed the tip of a hunting knife against the ice and drew a single line. It would be several years before he could return to the fragile Arctic ecosystem to realise his initial vision and create the video installation Forewarning (Act 1), 2023. The work records Capone drawing a single continuous line with a hunting knife across the Paulabreen Glacier in Svalbard, a hostile and remote location barely accessible, except during a fleeting window each year when sea ice forms in front of it.
Svalbard is also one of the fastest-warming places on the planet, and melting glaciers are one of the many explicit signs of climate catastrophe. In Forewarning (Act 1), evidence of the glaciers’ retreat and Capone’s actions characterise the violence and grief associated with humanity’s impact on nature. Capones calls the gesture ‘distressing’ yet poetic, ‘polarising humankind’s environmental impact whilst exploring notions of ecological grief’.