A vanitas or memento mori is an artwork that reminds the viewer of the transient nature of human life.
It is now increasingly becoming acknowledged that we now live in the anthropocene era, during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
You are to create a sculpture/3D design as a vanitas for the human impact on the natural world. Your outcome could be monumental, mobile/kinetic, applied/functional/wearable, performance based…
Anthropocene – Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
Examples of anthropocene works here
This brief really opened my eyes to the current world state and what the human race are doing to the planet. Not just on a ecological point of view, probably the most logical and initial idea one thinks of when talking about human impact, but also on other levels. A strong idea that first came to mind to me was the increase in AI (artificial intelligence). In a way this could be one of the biggest developments in history, essentially creating an artificial life form, a new species in a way working through the digital world, which in theory is almost like an alternate reality to our own. I liked the idea of this AI theme and initially was going to create a piece linked to this.
My initial idea related to an anime I watched as a child called Digimon. In the series a group of eight children, the digidestined, are transported to this alternate world “the digiworld” throughout the series it is mentioned many times how the real world and the digiworld work hand in hand, what happens in one directly impacts the other and rifts between the two can cause all kinds of problems. I always found this prospect interesting and realised how strangely realistic this kind of problem could become be it technology advancing as rapidly as it is.
I tried many designs however most fell flat due to the complexity of the theme I was tackling. One idea I quite liked was a sand timer with images of our world at the bottom and a kind of digital world on the top. The digital world slowly trickling into the real world. This idea would have been interesting to create however In retrospect i would have probably required much more time than we had available.
Upon going back to square one I realised there were two other routes I could follow in this piece. One was an ecological theme and the other a political theme. Being quite strongly minded regarding both I was trying to find a subject where the two met in the middle. My first idea here was to create a pop up book in a typical children’s book style. Bright colours, simplistic drawing and snappy narrative. the subject matter was going to follow a mother and son on a trip to the zoo, however upon arriving at the zoo the son keeps asking his mother where each of the animals are. Popping up from the pages would be empty cages representing the extinct animals and the boy’s mother would have to explain to him where they have gone.
In theory this design would have been quite effective however I didn’t feel it gave me as much scope as I needed. I wanted to create a piece that was more structural and where I could show multiple techniques. Working solely with paper was not the ideal.
My mind then flipped back to anime. As a long time anime fan, although admittedly I watch far less than I did when I was younger, I often get anime related videos pop up into my suggested feed on youtube. One such came about around the time of Donald Trump’s infamous wall comments as a fan of popular anime series Attack on Titan. While clearly a spoof of the anime’s opening sequence, It was easy to actually see the clear links between what he was saying and some themes the anime. below is the video.
I suddenly realised what a great theme this would be for my piece. It’s political, relates to the environment, relates to ostracisation and was a current world problem.
being somewhat engaged in the US election I had my opinions built on Mr Donald Trump. There were certain points within his political manifesto that I strongly opposed, many relating to his intended increase in nuclear power as well as fossil fuels. I wanted to highlight this as well and mock the Mexican wall in my piece and began designing.
Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in technical and engineering drawings. It is an axonometric projection in which the three coordinate axes appear equally foreshortened and the angle between any two of them is 120 degrees. LINK
Here are some designs I used for reference by writer and illustrator Hajime Isayama
Here are some quotes and ideology from donald Trump I collected throughout my research:
I then went on to create a maquette…