Written by Melissa Nunez, marketing intern at the University Press of Florida
While looking at The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene, I realized how my work as an artist can relate to some of the ideas that were brought up by curator Kerry Oliver-Smith. Distributed by the University Press of Florida, The World to Come was published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. The work in the exhibit expresses seven different themes: deluge (floods), raw material, consumption, symbiosis and multi species, extinction, justice, and imaginary futures.
Looking back to The World to Come as a source for research and inspiration for my art practice, I came across the chapter on Imaginary Futures. In this chapter, there was a quote by Rory Rowan: “Without a commitment to the enduring possibility of a better world, we simply resign ourselves and the planet to extinction as usual.” While reading this quote, I thought about how my recent artwork Silos brings ideas about restoring the possibility of an unrealized and emerging future.
Silos are a series of black and white silver gelatin prints of an abandoned nineteenth-century factory built during the second industrial revolution. Mass consumerism during this time caused degraded environments. To imagine a new future within the Anthropocene, we must learn how to survive and moderate our consumption. In my series Silos, the idea of altering these abandoned industrial buildings can be a metaphor for attempting to moderate our consumption in the Anthropocene epoch.
The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene is an informative and inspirational book that came from a strong exhibition about contemporary environmental issues. The artists in the exhibition all focus on offering new ways to visualize our world to come despite climate change deniers. The exhibit features multi-medium works from artists who specialize in photography, film, digital media, painting, and sculpture.
The World to Come exhibit and book is a great resource for anyone interested in environmental and climate issues. Not only is it informative, but it also showcases a variety of works of interest to a variety of viewers, whether they relate to a specific piece or enjoy a particular medium. We should continue the conversation that the artists in The World to Come have left us to ponder. How will the Anthropocene affect our way of life if we don’t continue to adapt to this future? And how can we live in a better world if we can’t imagine it?
Melissa Nunez was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Melissa received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography at New World School of the Arts. She will receive her Master’s degree in Creative Photography and Museum Studies at the University of Florida in Spring 2020. She is also the fellowship recipient at the University of Florida. Recent exhibitions include Manifest Gallery at Cincinnati, Ohio, Unique Exposures, A. Smith Gallery, Austin Texas; Emerge; and Exposure, Air Gallery, Manchester, England.