What does the end of the world look like? This is a question; presumably, no one could know the realistic answer to. So - here's a better question. How do we visualize the apocalypse and whom should we get to do it? Well, National Geographic dug up some interesting presentations.
See the pictures, and read more of their interview with National Geographic here.
Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber, two Brooklyn artists and partners, are visualizing the future apocalypse and abandoned cities in miniature. Nix says their goal is to create “open-ended narratives-models of a post-human metropolis in the future, after an unknown catastrophe.” That phrase “open-ended narratives” is how almost every envisioning of the apocalypse should go. Embracing the idea of not-knowing, in my opinion, creates the best visuals and narratives for these stories. More importantly, they offer an important self-reflexive way of looking at what our narrative would be and questioning why and how humanity could get to this point through our own scope of understanding.
Gerber points out, “Once people find out they’re models, the think, ‘Oh, these are just pretend.’ That creates a safe space where they can ponder the message.” This ‘safe-space’ being created through apocalyptic miniatures is a very interesting approach.
The pair are a match made in artistry-heaven. Nix labels herself a faux landscape photographer, with the help of her computer. Gerber, her counterpart, has a background in gilding, glassblowing, and faux-finishing, which helps Nix to add realistic details to the sets.
As Nix pus it, “She’s the sculptor, I’m the architect”
Their main goal is to get people to think, to look at their art and to feel something, and then think about that feeling. The engaging nature of the mystery of the events that had to take place for a scene to be created push viewers to fill-in the gaps of themselves. To create a world backwards in their own heads – from disruption back to seeming normality…all to return to the image in front of them.
Their art is always obstinately post-human. Many of the images they have created show decimated, decrepit, and destroyed visages of every day scenes – a casino, a classroom, and a Laundromat, for example. However, these human-man artifices are broken down by the weather (as one could assume with no maintenance teams or upkeep) and re-inhabited by Nature. The capitalization there is important because, although most people likely see the end of the human race as depressing, Nix and Gerber view the creeping-back-in of Nature to be “weirdly hopeful.”
The above image is not related to the story, or by the two artists. It is from Flickr User Seniju and liscensed under Creative Commons 2.0.