New Zealand / Duration 5m33s / 2012
Paradox of Plenty (Futurology) begins with a “study” of futuristic edifices such as the Auckland Sky Tower, airport terminals, a natural gas cargo ship, and the Seattle Space Needle. Each of these structures is mirrored along a single axis, a minor adjustment that has a major affect: the ordinary, practical edifices become features of a fantastic, Flash Gordonesque City of the Future – or the assets of a post-apocalyptic military force.
The work’s futuristic “ships” have a double nature that goes beyond their mirrored symmetry. They are practical and functional, like the industrial constructions they are, but also dream-like. They are aspirational, but also threatening, with a military or bomb-like aspect. However much they are altered by their mirroring, though, these remain recognisable as structures that exist now, in today’s world; structures that are vaguely dystopian: mundane, transitory, bad for the environment, or just outmoded.
A battle in a pine forest segues into a 3D cartoon representation of the Simpsons while dissolving into an apocalyptic 3D version of The Simpsons’ nuclear factory. The landscape is devoid of characters mapped with a satellite image of the USA Midwest in winter as ashes fall.
When I was young, many of our generation were convinced that the future would be more in line with the George Jetson’s elevated homes (modelled in part on the 1962 Seattle Space needle)… or apocalyptic – if we survived the expected nuclear war, we’d be living in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. Fortunately neither happened. This is the present as failure to meet up to the aspirations of the past, but also as a success of sorts—we’re still alive, the nuclear apocalypse has not (yet) come to pass. Really, nothing much has changed.
Brit Bunkley is a New Zealand-based artist whose current art practice includes public art, sculpture, installation, and the creation of “impossible” moving and still images and architecture designed using computer 3D modelling, video and image editing programs, with content emphasising an oblique sense of apocalyptic anxiety tempered with whimsy and irony