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REMAINS

2022

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A reflection on humanity following its extinction, where the culprit of our demise is in fact humanity's own self-destructive behaviour. This piece portrays what lies ahead if we continue to demonstrate negligence towards our actions and the consequences they hold, by considering what will remain to represent and remember our existence.

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- Jena Gregory 
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What's it about?

My area of investigation was centered around my speculations of what is held for the future of humanity, and what will remain to indicate and represent our existence. My ideas were influenced by multiple sources of research that offered the disturbing upcoming possibility that is our species’ self-extinction. Lynton Keith Caldwell and Nick Bostrom put forward their views in separate chapters of books and articles, both titled The Future of Humanity; where the culprit of this end result is in fact humanity’s own self-destructive behaviour. Where our negligence has inadvertently led to our own demise. Our deconstruction of our natural environment, and its rapid replacement with our artificial system has generated the urgent need to adapt in order to perform at the same advanced level as the environment we have created around us. However, this is impossible as our nature and behaviourisms are still far outdated in comparison. It would require a much higher comprehension of our own society, and the consequences of our actions before any state of equilibrium can be met. Our current level of comprehension is merely an adapted form of the innate ‘survival of the fittest’ approach to survival, where there is only a focus on the self, rather than the future as a result of our collective actions. 

The human mind is not adapted to interpreting how social systems behave, therefore it cannot comprehend and evaluate the consequences of its accelerating impact upon the environment and thereby itself. It also cannot comprehend the idea of societal collapse as a result of these consequences, and instead chooses to focus on its own mortality, and continue to select and believe what information we want to hear that will benefit us in the present, with no regard to the long-term consequence. Even the technology we have created can be used to predict these risks of our own actions and how much damage they will cause, yet we still make no changes to prevent them as our priorities are focused on the self. Without the acknowledgement for a call for change, in the long term this could be the thing that deconstructs our society, driving ourselves to our own extinction. Caldwell summarises this in the quote:

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 ..modern society collectively has not yet comprehended that its course of development has brought it to a basic change-of state. Success in improving the human condition within the environment has obscured the risks incurred in its achievement.

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- Lynton Keith Caldwell, "Is Humanity Destined to Self-Destruct?"
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My intentions were to create a piece that portrays a reflection on humanity as whole - positioning the viewer to analyse this representation by looking to the past. I took into consideration what materials I could use that had dated associations, in order to replicate this sensation. The notion of nostalgia seemed to fit into this category, and so I reflected on my own past, and what I considered to resonate nostalgia within myself. My choice of colours - I.e. Cream colours were particularly nostalgic to me, due to personal reasons, as well as my exposure to them in the forms of early advances in computer technology, where the surge of CRTs and Macintoshes from the mid 80s still populated the working environment. It was the sense of the deconstruction of society that led to my focus on portraying deterioration of artificial substances due to abandonment and exposure to the sediments of petrification. This was to represent how a large part of what humanity will be remembered for after its extinction (or what will remain most prominently) are the buildings and concrete creations we have created. Therefore, I created a focus around the notion of human ‘remains’ being made up of the very substances and objects of our own fashioning. This perfectly encapsulates the representation of humanity that I am aiming to present, where there is no romanticisation or glorification of our species. It is simply a raw, realistic interpretation of what will be the remains of humanity; a pile of rubble, concrete and plastic that once had meaning, but is now nothing but another layer of sediment to the Earth, the very thing we tried to build ourselves up from. Our failure to adapt and evolve our morals at the same rate we exploited our resources and skills led to the extinction of our species, and the total collapse of society. 

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It is simply a raw, realistic interpretation of what will be the remains of humanity; a pile of rubble, concrete and plastic that once had meaning, but is now nothing but another layer of sediment to the Earth...

- Jena Gregory 

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References:
  • Caldwell, Lynton Keith. “Is Humanity Destined to Self-Destruct?” Politics and the Life Sciences, vol. 18, no. 1, Mar. 1999, pp. 3–14, 10.1017/s0730938400023509. Accessed 31 Aug. 2021.

  • Bostrom, N. (2005). The Future of Humankind. Scientific American, 293(1), pp.90–93

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