Futurology Part 2

30112928

 

Paradox of Plenty (Futurology) - a two channel video installation of related apocalyptic tableaus to be projected on opposite walls that incorporates 3D video animation with high definition footage. The narrative is meant to be oblique and slow, encompassing disjointed, but related passages of conflict- the prequel and its aftermath.
 
One channel obliquely investigates edifices such as the Auckland Sky Tower, airport terminals, a natural gas cargo ship, and the Seattle Space Needle. Each of these structures is mirrored along a single axis, a minor adjustment that has a major affect: the ordinary, practical edifices become features of a fantastic, Flash Gordonesque City of the Future – or the assets of a post- apocalyptic military force. A slightly blurry, flattened aesthetic with reduced colour differentiation gives the work an unreal, almost cartoony, retro feel. The work reads like a 1970s vision of the future, or an alternate reality.
 
The work's futuristic ships have a double nature that goes beyond their mirrored symmetry. They are practical and functional, like the industrial constructions they are, but also dream-like. They are aspirational, but also threatening, with a military or bomb-like aspect. However much they are altered by their mirroring, though, these remain recognisable as structures that exist now, in today’s world; structures that are vaguely dystopian: mundane, transitory, bad for the environment, or just outmoded. 
 
The other channel uses a combination of 3D animation realties and actual HD footage. A battle in a pine forest segues into a 3D cartoon representation of the Simpsons -while dissolving into an apocalyptic 3D version of The Simpsons’ nuclear factory. The landscape is devoid of characters mapped with a satellite image of the USA Midwest in winter as ashes fall. Both channels use more or less the same soundtrack, mostly the same clip at different speeds and pitches.
 
When I was young, many of our generation were convinced that the future would be more in line with the George Jetson's elevated homes (modelled in part on the 1962 Seattle Space needle)... or apocalyptic - if we survived the expected nuclear war, we’d be living in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. Fortunately neither happened. As the old proverb goes, if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. This is the present as failure to meet up to the aspirations of the past, but also as a success of sorts - we're still alive, the nuclear apocalypse has not (yet) come to pass. Really, nothing much has changed.
 
The term paradox of plenty is defined as is the paradox of nations who are rich in natural resources - often energy resources- frequently engaging in energy related conflict.