An exhibition inaugurated this week in Barcelona discusses the influence of human behavior on Earth and casts a different light on our world
It’s 2100 and we have a very, very different world. There is no food for all and water is an overpriced good. Lands are dry – well, not all lands. Cattle and fertile farms prosper in Siberia, Greenland or Alaska, but big parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe are now desertified. Does it sound like a nightmare or a prefiguration of the future? Or is this the beginning of the end of the world as we know it?
On Wednesday 25th of October, the «Despŕes de la fí del món» (After the End of the World) exhibition was inaugurated at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), Spain with a selected audience that was invited to participate in an “Artists’ Talk”, an event whereby a number of artists shared their work and views of the world.
Benjamin Grant, the founder of Daily Overview, a project which explores the power of high-resolution satellite photography and which made him a popular social media personality, was one of the talking artists. His idea is to offer a different perspective on our planet, either by sharing beautiful landscapes such as the Amazon rainforest and the Florida Everglades or the ugly impact of mining and of the refugee crisis worldwide. Some of his work bears a strong resemblance to that of Piet Mondrian and Ellsworth Kelly. «There is a lot of thinking behind my work. I want to raise awareness of our planet by showing how it’s changing through perspectives we can’t have in our everyday lives», he said.
The artists and expeditionists Kate Davies and Liam Young presented Unknown Fields, a nomad study that shows the shadows of the contemporary city. In their expeditions around the world, they uncover the impacts of industry and consumption on nature and human lives. The “forgotten ones” – that is the hidden workers of the fashion industry or the cargo ships that travel the world endlessly to deliver goods – are integrated with our daily lives in unexpected and surprising ways.
The amazing transformation of Singapore is the topic chosen by Charles Lim. Using maps and telling local stories, he exposes how rapidly the landscape of his country has changed – through land reclamation from the sea, elimination of hills, and renaming islands, Singapore has lived through an intense land revolution, still ongoing.
The collective Rimini Protokoll, from Germany, shared a surprising experience with Documental Theatre. One of the ‘plays’ invited an audience of 500 people to be part of an imaginary Conference of the Parties (COP) whereby they are asked to make decisions for each country and try to reach the 2020 target on greenhouse gases emissions. It is an exercise of awareness and commitment that changes the perspective of normal citizens on climate change.
«Després de la fí del món» is an exhibition that explores Earth in 2017, a planet irreversibly transmuted into Paul J. Crutzen’s Anthropocene after many centuries of the influence of human behavior. Yet it is also an exhibition that forecasts the second half of 21st century and determines our generation’s responsibility to future generations.