If I could believe my eyes and ears, a meal of insects could be in my future all because I wanted to eat beef and drive cars.
For two months, all anyone at Can Serrat talked about was an exhibit in Barcelona about humans doing an outstanding job killing the Earth, and ourselves. It was the After the End of the World exhibit.
The last review was from some Norwegians who made the exhibit their first stop of their second day in Spain. I had to go to know what the buzz was about.
It was about the dark side of ecology.
I have mentioned ecology before in this blog; about my French woman housemate at Can Serrat. Her rabid rudeness over conservation of water. How she flat-slapped my tooth-brushing water off.
The After the End of the World exhibit trumped that, big bootie-style.
It’s old news that human consumption is killing the Earth; the point here is to push viewers to stop being the fingers of the hand of destruction. Internal combustion engines, diamonds as a symbol of eternal love. Land filled with materials that won’t rot for 1,000 years.
The first installation in the exhibit pointed the finger directly: the word on a screen big as the sky was YOU.
Lectures between installations were supposed to help the viewer deal with the enormity of their role in this earthly damage already inflicted and documented, but delivered by Timothy Morton, the guru doomsayer of the conservation movement, made me feel worst.
His first lecture came from a talking pile of sand.
Forget Jaws; humans will respect the beach when sand has a face and moving lips. And sprinkled throughout its “hair” is all the crap humans leave behind, including sunglasses, plastic water bottles, and a Metro ticket (though mass transit is more ecological than personal pods, i.e. automobiles).
The most-dense installation was the satellite photos taken over a decade from satellites in space. They show humans’ earth work.
Nice stuff like tulip flowers in bloom in the Netherlands show up as bands of brightness.
The not-so-nice is the used tire dump in Utah. Millions of flower bulbs,
millions of busted tires.
Other more odious, more in my face, was the mining of the earth’s resources: iron ore, aluminum and diamonds. Mines dug deep and wide. Earth looking like the acne-scarred face of a teen ager. From the look of this, the mark of diamonds will be forever.
Among the half-dozen artists in the exhibit, are collectives. The most talked about installation was by Rimini Protokoll, a design studio.
Their installation was an illusion with mirrors that pitted people against each other, not physically, but reflectively. I heard.
I did not see it because of a strike in Barcelona in support of independence of the state of Catalunya from Spain. That was the only installation politics disrupted.
The exhibit went on and there I was outside the scariest part. I didn’t know that when I hesitated going in. It was something.
Unlike the other installation entrances which were formed by a stretched fabric curving around, guiding the viewer, this entrance was a plain white door marked with a number.
I might still be there debating whether to try the door except people in front of me turned the doorknob, opened the door, went through, and shut it behind them.
I heard no screams so I opened it, too.
Behind the door was a kitchen.
A regular kitchen, the family-meeting place, hearth of love, origin of nourishment.
It included the broad strokes of human habitat: table and chair, a fridge and stove, but also grow lights and plants.
In the U.S., the bright light glowing in an attic window would be the tell-tale sign of marijuana growers, but under these lights people were growing their own food in pots.
After the end of the world people will have messed up the soil so bad we won’t be able to grow food outdoors.
Because of the existing transportation system (water and highways) my
daughter Terri said that Detroit’s next industry might be food. Urban agriculture in the form of insects.
In some places on earth, like Africa, they already eat ants and beetles. In Cambodia, they eat tarantula spiders.
We, Americans, might be eating larva. At the movies pouring butter on fried grubs.
I knew where this installation was going so I did not stop.
Later, I learned that the recipe book on the kitchen counter instructed on making mealworm burgers.
Want fries with that?
It took a trip to the toilet for me to decompress.
The kitchen installation of the After the End of the World exhibit was a horror because it showed humans are harming earth with our practices, but we’re killing ourselves.
Earth will be OK. Humans will be worm scratchers, again.
Despres de la Fi del Mon (After the End of the World) CCCB, Barcelona, Spain. 25.10.2017 – 29.4.2018
Artists contributing to After the End of the World: Kim Stanley Robinson, Benjamin Grand, Unknown Fields Division (Kate Davies + Liam Young), Charles Lim, Rimini Protokoll, Superflux, Tomas Saraceno, Natalie Jermijenko, Timothy Morton.
Ways I am being ecological
Surge protector/power strip multi-tasking as night light
Flip-flops multi-tasking as house slippers
Wearing clothes (not panties) twice before washing
Hanging clothes on line to dry
Little cups of everything – no Big Gulps
Using paper bags to write on