Artist in Residence: Chris Manson

CHRIS MANSON

Chris Manson is a writer and artist based in Glasgow. Originally from Hong Kong, Chris’ work draws heavily from his mixed Scottish-Chinese heritage.

His artistic output is primarily in genre fiction visual storytelling, and he has provided illustrations for investigative journalism pieces where the preservation of vulnerable peoples’ anonymity met the need to provide an insight into their personal stories and cultures.

Chris is an Electrical Engineering graduate of Strathclyde University and worked in the field of renewable energy from his university days up until 2014, including presentation of the benefits of renewable energy vs non-renewable at public events with the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, now known as the Science and Industry Museum (SIM).

Chris has experienced the climate impacts of unrestricted industrialisation first-hand. During the 2010s, industrial expansion around Shenzhou and the greater Guangzhou area caused a visible smog to form in Hong Kong, adversely impacting the health of vulnerable residents of the formerly relatively clean city.

Motivated by this experience and with the weight of his education behind him, Chris has found himself drawn towards projects that raise awareness of climate change – particularly those that encourage action on both the personal and corporate levels to minimise the impact human existence has on the world we share.

RED THREADS OF FATE

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The Red Thread of Fate (variously translated as The Red String of Fate or the Red Thread of Marriage) is an old Chinese legend that has propagated across many East Asian cultures.

The legend says that two people, destined by the Gods to become partners, are connected by an invisible string that may stretch or become entangled along the way, but will never break – ultimately leading them together.

The proposed art piece, named “Red Threads of Fate”, plays with this idea – that no matter how various interests may manipulate or even conceal information from the public, it is undeniable that we can link human actions to climate events.

The piece will take the form of a walk-through installation, where stories are told by cards strung along the titular red paper ‘threads’, connecting large-scale events to stories of communities impacted by these events via scientific data points.

There will also be corresponding “Blue Threads”. Due to the artist’s belief that positivity and hope is also required to make change happen, these Blue Threads will connect actions and effects that have had a healing or otherwise positive effect on the environment.

The threads will be accompanied by a companion backdrop, where representations of the continents hang above the exhibit, with areas of land vulnerable to rising sea levels hanging down further still – the intended effect being that the disappearing land will be closer to eye level, and harder for attendees to ignore.

It is hoped that with the warnings of the Red Threads and the successes of the Blue Threads, this exhibit will spark critical thought on the causes of climate change, and provide a feeling of encouragement – specifically, that even though there are many issues at hand, we are more than capable of successfully doing something about them.

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