AMSTERDAM — Dream Out Loud at the Stedelijk Museum (Amseterdam, August 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017) gave 26 designers the prompt of creating something that speaks to complex societal issules, social design so to speak.
Above image: Claire Verkoyen, Shaping Space I (inside).
Do you dream of being less dependent on meat? Then why not devise your own meat substitute. Do you fantasise about a clean universe? Then seek out non-oil based materials, or devise a smog free zone where you breathe fresh air. Is plastic debris poisoning our seas? Well, why not build a giant vacuum cleaner!
The designs seem pretty fanciful from that description, but none so much as Claire Verkoyen’s work, which uses animation combined with 3D wireframe design to posit a post-human planet in which insects and technology have inherited the earth. It’s her version of a utopia.
So it’s not practical, more like sci-fi futurism than a design for us right here, right now. But I find that it speaks to my growing alarm at where my species (and by extension myself and everyone I care about) will be in a few decades. When you pull up Facebook to find an entire article about climate scientists giving each other grief therapy because of what they know, it causes some alarm. We may have to get acquainted with fatalism fairly quickly and at this point the more we can do to preserve our dignity in these twilight hours, the better.
But that’s just my read on it. I glommed on to the first and most likely existential threat I knew of. Many people don’t accept climate change as fact. How else can these pieces speak to you, Pollyanna?
Fatalism is a fact of life. Whether it be by rising temperatures, volcanic action or a big dinosaur-crushin’ meteor, the dominant lifeforms on earth could go at any moment. What helps? What can you use to get out of bed in the morning?
We’ve never been on another planet with life on it. Our knowledge about what happens here is limited to the past. It’s a vast cosmos and life itself has a better work ethic than anything else I can name. What makes me feel better? These little guys crawling across Claire’s bowls. They are so simple and yet so complex at the same time. Alien and yet of the world, they suggest that life isn’t done here, no matter what happens to us. Order will eventually rise from chaos and I’d be happy to give the keys to the planet to these insects.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
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