What’s Next for Earth: The Human Predicament Art Call Contributions

Michele Guieu | October 5, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Yvette Head

What's Next for Earth: The Human Predicament

The Human Predicament is What’s Next for Earth’s art call for September 2020. Understanding the human predicament is essential if we want to prepare for a resilient future. Unfortunately, what we find in the news is segmented, incomplete, biased, and greenwashing is pervasive. My comprehension of the human predicament became apparent when I read “How Everything can Collapse: A Manuel for Our Times” by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens (France, 2015).

Nate Hagens, Pr. at the University of Minnesota, created a course for his freshmen students about the human predicament. He made available to the public a condensed version of it. His systemic approach to the interaction between human behavior, environment, economy, and energy gives a clear picture that helps think differently about the future. The series of 4 short videos, “HUMAN PREDICAMENT SHORT COURSE” by Nate Hagens, is here. During September, artists we invited to contributes artwork and to post it on their Instagram feed. Contributions were then reposted on What’s Next for Earth Instagram page.

In September, California continued to experience an early and punishing fire season. On September 9, in some part of Califonia, an eerie bright orange sky due to the confluence of a heatwave, dryness, and smokey air surprised and scared people. It looked like the end of the world. The stress of the pandemic is multiplied in areas like California by the visible effects of climate change. As the election becomes closer, many of us are worried about our politics not taking drastic action to change the crash course we are on. 

Here are the art contributions to the art call.

Photo courtesy Marie Cameron ©️ 2020

Marie Cameron (California, US)
Touch the Rainbow – Why do we destroy what makes us whole?
From the #morerainbows! series
Found photograph, silk thread
3.5” x 3.5”
2020

Marie Cameron
Photo courtesy Marie Cameron ©️ 2020

Marie Cameron (California, US)

Rainbow Fire Lookout Tower – Ever vigilant.
From the #morerainbows! Series
Found photograph, silk thread
3.5” x 3.5”
2020

Teresa Mill
Photo Courtesy Teresa Mill ©️ 2020

Teresa Mill (California, US)
Exiled 
Acrylic on canvas, 18″x24″
2011 

The “Exile” in the title of this painting refers to the biblical expulsion from the Garden of Eden, as well as to our current self-imposed emotional exile from the natural world, as well as our predictable future exile from a world we made unlivable. When we were hunter-gatherers, we lived as part of the web of earth, immediately dependant and in dialogue with life around us. When we initiated farming that relationship changed. The very technology we began to use structurally altered our relationship with the earth. We began to shape the earth and use her to our own ends. That break in our relationship to earth has shattered evermore, as we feel divorced from our intrinsic relationship to the earth on which we evolved. Now we treat the earth as a whore to be used, or a pet to be sentimentalized, not realizing that what we destroy or deign to try and save is actually our own umbilical cord, our practical source of life without which we can’t survive.

Christina Conklin
Photo Courtesy Christina Conklin ©️ 2020

Christina Conklin (California, US)

This is from a series of small salt maps, though this feels like more of a portrait. I’m using salt and slide dyes, rust, and other chemical agents to investigate the unpredictable and impermanent nature of the world we’re co-creating. Going big soon!

Alise Sheehan
Photo Courtesy Alise Sheehan ©️ 2020

Alise Sheehan (California, US)

Humans and Trees are vulnerable and fragile. We are at the mercy of fires and floods and COVID-19. Fire is raging up and down the coast. Art captures moments in time, and this is for this moment. Fragile State.

Marianne Bickett
Photo Courtesy Marianne Bicket ©️ 2020

Marianne Bickett (Oregon, US) 

I just finished watching Nate Hagen’s youtube “Navigating the Human Predicament” HF podcast #6 and highly recommend it! It was validating to me because the article I had published with other Sunbury press authors about the arts leading the way to a healthier world is exactly what Mr. Hagens advocates!! Last night I drew this profile image blind contour with my eyes closed. It reads (written after drawing) “This is just a bad dream” and then “Everything is going to go back to normal”. I’m expressing the denial we all do to varying degrees in regard to all that is happening (pandemic, fires, etc). I’m calling upon all artists, everyone, to be the soul of these troubled times and be brave!! Create your art, send the message of change and courage, envision a more balanced and healthier world! Put it to paper, pen, whatever!! And Nate points out how taking care of ourselves is taking care of the world! Bravo!! Exactly what I’ve preached for years!! Thank you, Nate! Also, participate in @WNFE September art call: the Human Predicament. Thank you, Michele! Let’s be the world we want to create!

Marianne Bickett
Photo Courtesy Marianne Bicket ©️ 2020

Marianne Bickett (Oregon, US) 

 

Another blind contour without looking:
“I am covering my face with my hands. I don’t know what to do.” 
At the bottom: “There is smoke everywhere.” Color and words added after drawing. 

Thanks to @WhatsNextForEarth for the September Art Call of The Human Predicament for the prompt upon which I pondered while fires burned nearby and hazardous smoke has lingered for 9 days. Though we are sad and scared, we can take care of ourselves kindly and do kind things for others, including the animals who suffer with us. There is Hope. We can do this together.

Marianne Bickett
Photo Courtesy Marianne Bicket ©️ 2020

Marianne Bickett (Oregon, US) 

I hope this photo speaks for itself.
Grateful for this opportunity to participate in the art call. Thank you

Susan J. Osborn
Photo Courtesy Susan Osborn ©️ 2020

Susan J. Osborn (California, US)

Protest
Ink on paper, 8”x 10”

A crowd of different colored people energetically raise their hands in shouts. This is human behavior reacting to the environment of politics, economics, and trust to create a positive change.

Deborah Kennedy
Photo Courtesy Deborah Kennedy ©️ 2020

Deborah Kennedy (San Jose, CA, US)

Digital manipulation of an existing photo
A ruin is not a catastrophe. It is the moment when things can start again.
A. Kiefer
When will we begin again?

Yvette Head
Photo Courtesy Yvette Head ©️ 2020

Yvette Head (California, US)

Today I worked on a special small painting, “Fire Follower”. I was inspired to answer the art call for @whatsnextforearth: The Human Predicament.
“Understanding the human predicament is essential if we want to prepare for a resilient future.”
I researched into the resulting effects of our devastating wildfires here in California, looking for something with resilience: and I discovered the Fire Poppy.
They belong to a group of plants known as the fire followers, using heat, smoke, and charred soil as signals to regerminate, proving that great destruction can give rise to something beautiful

Marcela Villasenor
Photo Courtesy Marcela Villasenor ©️ 2020

Marcela Villasenor (California, US)

Luto  (mourning), 2020

On September 9, I lost a beloved family member to COVID. It was a painfully personal understanding of the magnitude of suffering that currently exists in the world.

El 9 de Septiembre perdí a un amado miembro de mi familia a causa del COVID. Fue una pena personal que me hizo entender la magnitud del sufrimiento que actualmente existe en el mundo.

Ivan Sigg
Photo Courtesy Ivan Sigg ©️ 2020

Ivan Sigg (Paris, France)

Amabie: this three-legged yōkai comes out of the water to announce either a good harvest or an epidemic! Let our politicians and our predicament not prevent us from making humor. 

Amabié: ce yōkai à trois pattes sort de l’eau pour annoncer soit une bonne récolte, soit une épidémie ! Ce fantôme japonais est tout à fait de circonstance. Que nos hommes politiques et notre difficile condition humaine ne nous empêchent pas de faire de l’humour.

Pascal Ken
Photo Courtesy Pascal Ken ©️ 2020

Pascal Ken (Paris, France)

La difficile condition humaine.
Finding Resilience in an Age of Turbulence.

Calligraphy Acrylic on paper photography & digital collage 
15cm x 15 cm 
2020

Pascal Ken
Photo Courtesy Pascal Ken ©️ 2020

Pascal Ken (Paris, France)

La difficile condition humaine.
Finding Resilience in an Age of Turbulence.
Animals

Calligraphy Acrylic on paper photography & digital collage 
15cm x 15 cm 
2020

Pascal Ken
Photo Courtesy Pascal Ken ©️ 2020

Pascal Ken (Paris, France)

La difficile condition humaine.
Finding Resilience in an Age of Turbulence.
Release Creativity

Calligraphy Acrylic on paper photography & digital collage 
15cm x 15 cm 
2020

Jemal
Photo Courtesy Jemal ©️ 2020

Jemal (San Jose, CA, US)

There’s A Little Black Spot On The Sun Today” (title by Lisa Adams)
Life in the now our air full of smoke and fire, our cities fractured, our cuts deep

Acrylic on canvas 
12×12″

Kells Hayward
Photo Courtesy Kells Hayward ©️ 2020

Kells Hayward (Bristol, UK)

Rework of an old piece, really happy with the progress I’ve made recently.

Cynthia Fusillo
Photo Courtesy Cynthia Fusillo ©️ 2020

Cynthia Fusillo (Barcelona, Spain)

“The Human Predicament”
Homage to Mother Earth, benevolent mother of all things.

Eric Meyer
Photo Courtesy ©️ 2020

Eric Meyer (Paris, France)

Watercolor and color pencil on paper

Eric Meyer
Photo Courtesy ©️ 2020

Eric Meyer (Paris, France)

Watercolor and color pencil on paper

Stacie B Greene
Photo Courtesy Stacie B Greene ©️ 2020

Stacie B Greene (California)

The Human Predicament

Dealing this year with so many things coming at us at once with Covid, social unrest, climate change, fires, elections. 


Collections CB Design
Photo Courtesy Collections CB Design ©️ 2020

Collections CB Design (Paris, France)

Besoin d’aide? Une question?
Need help? A question?

Michele Guieu 2020
Photo Courtesy Michele Guieu ©️ 2020

Michele Guieu (California, US)
“When the sky is blue again, 
Let’s not forget about this.
2020 is screaming at us
to rethink “business as usual”. 

The photo was taken September 9, 2020, in Sunnyvale, Bay Area, where I live, 
as fires were raging through California, Oregon, and Washington. 

The human predicament is a situation with no solution (but changes to the situation can be made) where environmental, economic, energetic, and equity issues are tightly intertwined and could lead to a systemic collapse of our civilization. We are in a trajectory of collapse because we are exploding the planetary limits. We need to change our economic system so that our carbon footprint does not exceed one planet (in the US, we use resources as if we had 4.7 planets). 

How do we go from “we explode the planetary limits” to “we respect the planetary limits”?

Burning Fossil fuel creates greenhouse gases that change the climate, increasing the intensity of fires, drought, floods, hurricanes, and acidifying the ocean. We need to stop using them. But how are we going to do that? 80% of ALL our activities use fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal).

Let’s say we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and we would not emit any greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Could we continue to destroy wild spaces, wildlife, on land, and in the ocean? Could we continue to destroy the Amazon forest to make room to grow the crops to feed the cattle? Could we continue to extract nonrenewable resources to make all the things we need and face an inevitable depletion for some metals? Could we continue to consume things endlessly?

We live in a finite world, and we cannot grow indefinitely. We need to put a brake on the exploitation of the living world. 

Renewable energy is not as powerful as fossil fuels and cannot replace them. We can transition to a world free of fossil fuels, but it will not resemble today’s world. It could be a world respectful to the environment, equitable, economically sustainable, and using energy wisely. We need new imaginaries to build that world!

~ Michele Guieu, Eco-Artist, MAHB Member, and MAHB Arts Community coordinator ~

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