This is my final project for the Biophilic concept. I originally had thought to do a piece on the idea of the opposite of Biophilia. What if animals could steal human inventions and use that to their advantages? I still stuck with my past sketch design, but now I felt like I could talk about the work better.
After watching Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature, I thought about how dystopia and utopia played into my piece. I thought that perhaps if humans didn't exist and nature had all control of technology and growth, then maybe there would be some kind of utopia. Could technological development and nature coexist?
For the nature side, one example is Chernobyl. After its nuclear accident, the area was devoid of human life for roughly 40 years. Since then, nature have reclaimed its territory regardless of the fallout. There are even dogs that now live there disregarding of radiation.
As for the technological side, Stephen Hawking has once warned about the future of AI technology. He talked about how computers could one day emulate human logic and intelligence. Could the technology of mankind discover a greater intelligence that we have already harnessed?
This also reminds me of two of my favorite short stories, "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison. Both these stories question a world where technology has gone beyond human comprehension. In Asimov's story, the world is helped and made wonderful by technology, while in Ellison's story, humans are tortured by a technology close to the power of a god. Both these stories remind humanity of the possibilities of technology.
Perhaps one day, technology will discover a greater logic in which humans have no place in. Can technology solve the issue of global warming, pollution, and more, by simply finding out the answer of: Humans are the reason.
In the end, I wanted to make a scene that bonds technology and nature. In the background lies giant dormant, chained human-like figures. They are chained to suggest that the creatures that are free, have somehow subjugated them.
I wanted to make the robots big to suggest how humans have such a huge impact on the earth. They literally have a giant footprint on nature. Chaining down these huge entities could be a good thing...
Either way, I wanted my piece to show a utopia yet dystopian world. There are no humans in sight, yet a robotic arm is nicely picking up a flower, suggesting the union of AI and nature. Nature will always retake its land, but in some ways, AI doesn't need humans either to grow...
Work in Progress Pictures and Details
For my final, my initial idea was to make a landscape of a new environment based on Biophilic. Biophilic is the usage of biological mechanics to improve technology and human inventions.
I began to think, what if instead of using biological systems to change technology, technology began to change biology?
This led me to remember one of my favorite artists: Simon Stalenhag.
He is an artist that paints beautiful yet eerie scenes of a dystopian world with mysterious towers that loom over seemingly normal homes, humans slumped on the ground with strange headgear, and giant robots in the distance.
The way he incorporates these threatening figures of towers and robots in the landscape give the images an almost Lovecraftian vibe. It's dystopian, it's Sci-Fi, yet it's also peculiarly modern...
His images definitely brings up concepts about technology controlling humans and the militarization of normality. The tall towers definitely give a sense that they are watching the humans underneath.
Not only are the pieces gorgeously painted with so much atmosphere and detail, each image tells a story. There are just enough elements to create a subtle narrative for the picture.
When I see these paintings, I am so mystified. I feel an ominous aura from them because the images are so similar to reality but there is just something wrong with them. That outlier subject always puts a question in my head. I want to know what is going on in the images. I want to know what is the state of this world and what is happening to its people.
Inspired by Stalenhag, I want to create an image where it has enough depth to encourage an instant story but still keeps the viewer asking for more information.
Through Plastic Pollution, the data shows that consumption of plastic products have continued to rise since 2012. The piles of plastic trash end on beaches, rivers, coasts, and more. The pollution of plastic is affecting animals, many of them birds and ocean life. Plastic is not biodegradable and thus spread pollution. They produce small grains of plastic particles that end up being ingested by animals.
I was intrigued by the plastic particles called "mermaid tears" that can get so small that they cannot be seen.
Fish and plankton and other animals end up consuming them causing toxicity in their systems.
I wondered if there could be a world where nature uses human inventions to change itself. I wanted to use plastic as the subject.
Here are some people's projects involving using plastic bottles to make flowers.
I find it extremely ironic that they're taking something completely unnatural to make something that is considered a standard of nature.
Thus, I want to make a landscape with fields of plastic bottle flowers. I will have to make sure my texture is really good or else it won't be obvious the flowers are fake.
In the background I think I want a futuristic city that is darkened by fog or large humanoid robots slumped over. I want these creepy, hooded figures to be collecting these flowers in their baskets.
I want the entire image to invoke mystery but also suggest a future for Earth. I want to play with the idea of a world where instead of humans growing through the adaptation of nature, nature is adapting through human inventions. I want to suggest that no matter what, nature will take back what it owns even if it means transforming itself into something new.
My next idea has to do with water striders. Turns out, the pollution of plastic in the oceans and other water sources are helping some organisms. In this case, water striders. Water striders and other water pests are able to use plastic adrift in water as surfaces to lay their eggs.
So, I was then thinking about a hybrid between water striders and plastic. I wanted to make an ironic play on a symbiotic relationship. Of course, a symbiotic relationship can only be between two natural organisms. Plastic and a bug doesn't really work.
I wanted the bugs to be covered in plastic bottle logos to suggest that these companies helped the growth of these bugs!
Finally, my last idea is more positive.
I was inspired by the architecture and concept of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
It is said that this wonder merged nature and humanity together to create a beautiful landscape.
I then thought about a future where perhaps, humans can learn to thrive with nature. Maybe in the future, there can be a technological version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
I'm not quite keen on this idea as it's not as fleshed out. I basically just sketched out a more Sci-Fi version of the Gardens.