This year I've been working on a series of digital collages that deal with global warming and climate change. The title refers to the Instagram filter, I'm drawing a correlation between selfie culture and the environment.
I like giving clues as to how I conceive my collages, however, it's important to note that there are no "correct" interpretations. An image lives through the eyes of the people who see it. I like discovering what the spectator makes of it. There are exceptions to every rule. In the case of Warming Filter, it was my intention to convey a specific message. The visual language is therefore not arbitrary.
My collage work consists in reassigning second-hand images. Advertising and editorial photography are used the same way words are used to tell a story. The images are repurposed and acquire new meanings. The spectator is treated to a unique experience. Ultimately, I strive to awaken sensitivity and consciousness.
In Warming Filter, I worked with a palette ranging from dark forest greens to aquas, sages and emerald greens. These colours are reminiscent of paintings by Courbet and Renoir depicting seashores.
There's an overall feeling of peace similar to the atmosphere of a cottage, near a lake, at twilight.
In this serene setting, one can see the Statue of Liberty emerging from the water.
The notion of calm in the midst of catastrophe is a metaphor of human complacency in the face of impending doom.
The woman on the right hand side is a perfect illustration of complacency turning into self-induced numbness. She holds one dry martini and has a second one ready. It's happy hour and she has quite a thirst to quench. She stares fondly almost nostalgically at Miss Liberty.
Perhaps she is reminiscing about "the good old days" when the statue stood high above everything around it.
I'm not suggesting Manhattan would become cottage country after the polar ice caps melt away. But by engaging in the peacefulness of this image, you find yourself ignoring the alarm signal of Miss Liberty drowning. Indeed, humanity has been ignoring many alarming signals and its lack of initiative can be compared to self-induced numbness. Unable to sacrifice certain pleasures in order to protect the planet we share, the world as we know it will inevitably change. Happy hour is almost over.
Standing there seamlessly integrated in the composition, the statue becomes a symbol of nature reclaiming culture. Her torch no-longer flaming, looks like a chimney after the fire has been extinguished. In this transformed world, the butterfly appears to be the only surviving symbol of freedom and hope.
The Girl in the Row Boat
At the top of the image, a girl in a row boat holds flowers in her hand extended downwards. Eerily, she looks like she is laying flowers on a grave as she grieves the state of the planet she has inherited.
The reflection in the water, like the reflection in a mirror, reminds us of our self-absorbed culture. Although human beings are the only species capable of self reflection, our egos can easily distract us from reality.
I really like Prince Ea's take on the famous Row Boat song many of us know.
Take a look.