THE WORLD WITHOUT US


Arguably, the role of art after an apocalypse becomes redundant because it is implied that there would no longer be human life to interact and appreciate it. However, if humans were to survive the downfall of a civilization, shaped by the catastrophic event of an apocalypse, then I believe humanity would find new mediums to explore; managing to manipulate the tragic setting into one of beauty.

In the event of an Armageddon, everything within the modern world would become devoid of its designed meaning and retract into symbols and materials. Like Emma and Rose state “a box becomes a table. Polystyrene becomes a rock”. Humanity would rebuild a civilization intending to use the materials we know for their intended purposes, yet they do not necessarily fill that devotion, i.e. polystyrene – a usually soft and malleable material is transformed into a rock; the compete opposite. Therefore, in an apocalyptic dystopian world, humanity may rebuild out of the desolate ‘rubble’ and ‘wreckage’ rather than creating new materials. Televisions then may become walls of buildings instead of the purpose of entertainment; an abandoned swimming pool may become a restaurant or home. Referring back to Emma and Rose’s impending question on ‘the role of art after an apocalypse’, it is one that cannot be definitively answered as one could maintain that anything is art. Based upon this, surely an apocalyptic location would be the perfect basis for art to flourish and adapt to a role that is not governed by human influence.

Emma Edmonson’s sculptural work reflects the nature of objects to reform and continue to live despite the apocalyptic landscape. They no longer live and breath with the landscape, but take on a new form separate from the destruction around them. The fact that Emma titles her work ‘The Great Drama’ emphasizes the theme that the functions of the objects have been changed and manipulated into something irregular that is no longer practical. Although Emma and Rose work together, and their outlooks upon an apocalyptic world are similar, their interaction with materials create different outcomes.

Rose Cleary transports the exhibition into the modern era due to the introduction of technology; the Internet is such a prevalent part of todays society that there could not be a downfall of humanity without the influence from the internet or technology. For me, the artwork is so hard-hitting; producing a creepy and lifeless environment because of the continuing loop of video and sound art. The never-ending cycle alludes to the premise that not only does technology outlive us but also that it will exist in a world governed by objects – nothing new will be invented if humans are no longer around to create. Rose also postulates the ironic foundation that our digital footprint will outlive any form of physical life; continuing to live on a network, portraying the idea that we may still be alive. Not only does her artwork provide the perfect atmosphere for an apocalyptic setting, it also creates a bleak and barren outlook on the rise of technology in today’s era.