LIGHTHOUSE (a sculpture about extinction)

Livestock make up 62% of the world’s mammal biomass

humans account for 34%

Wild mammals are just 4%



A beacon on the edge of land and sea to warn boats of the danger of smashing on rocks.  The lighthouse sculpture is also a more general metaphor warning of invisible dangers.  The light in the lantern at the top of a lighthouse symbolises hope, its 360’ rotation flashes a simple signal that it might be noticed by someone who hasn’t realised the danger nearby. 

In this lantern the traditional leaded windows which protected the lens, are instead depictions of endangered species at risk of extinction.  They are formed by arranging iron filings into the shape of the red list animals within each diamond shaped piece of fused glass, known in traditional glaziers parlance as a ‘quarry’.  The significance of the iron filings, often used in my work, signifies magneto-reception – the ability to detect the earth’s magnetic field.  All animals have this innate ability, they sense earth’s magnetic field, but humans do not, we have lost this ability (Kirchner et al, 2019). 

We realise this lost connection to the earth at the same time we realise we are losing species at an exponential rate, species extinctions currently occur at over 100 times than is considered by scientists as normal.  

As lighthouses themselves become obsolete with an increased reliance on satellite technology we find ourselves at a point in history where humanity itself is in real danger of extinction and the warning signals of a metaphorical lighthouse are too few as their lights go out one by one. 

lighthouse being tested in the studio

thanks to Jonathan Hogg for coding the LED lights which emulate the flash of a lighthouse