Nature and Technology took a lot of time when it was essential to combine these distinct subjects, working in harmony, Whether it be an animal having a day job or a ladybird with helicopter wings. And it appeared to be the most straightforward and obvious way of producing five images based on the brief of Nature and technology.
I began work based on the idea of a grizzly bear carrying out everyday jobs, such as a builder, policeman, or doctor. However, during my production process of these images, I began to worry that the idea had no direct relation to any iconic themes in Nature or technology. A grizzly bear is hardly an iconic animal of Nature, and doing different jobs is not an effect of technology or technology.
This made me think about how technology directly affects Nature as a whole; straight away, Global Warming came to mind. This theme allowed me to directly link Nature and technology, as technology is affecting Nature, as Global Warming is proving.
Nature and Technology over time
“By 2040, the Arctic may have its first ice-free summer”, indicating that animals such as the Polar Bear, Penguins, and Seals’ natural habits will be wiped out due to the effects of Global Warming. This will significantly impact these animals, causing them to either adapt to the environment they are left with or be wiped out. We can predict this as there has already been “a 17 percent decline in polar bear numbers on the western coast of Hudson Bay in Manitoba province – from 1200 to fewer than 1000 over the past ten years – due to the effects of global warming.”
But what is Global Warming, and why should we care about it? “As human-caused biodiversity loss and climate disruption gain ground, we need to keep our sights clear and understand that the measure of a threat is not a matter of whether it is made on purpose but of how much loss it may cause. It’s an old habit to go after those we perceive as evil because they intend to harm. It’s harder but more effective to “go after,” meaning to more effectively educate and socialize those vastly larger numbers of our fellow humans who are not evil but whose behaviour may be far more destructive in the long run.” (Ed Ayres 2001)
There is a lot of controversy over Global Warming as to whether or not it’s happening. In 1998 20% of people didn’t believe in Global Warming and its effects. The attempt to convert this 20% of the population is based on the theory outlined by Abbinnett (2003 p. 74) by Marxism about the development of technology by stating, “Marxism demands that we attend both to the logic of representation (distortion, false identity) which determines cultural reproduction, and to the development of the technologies through which this reproduction is carried out.”
Based on this, if I produce photo-realistic images, which once wouldn’t have been possible without the advances in computers, the audience will believe to an extent what they see initially until they put some thought into its real deeper meaning; in this case, global warming.
It gives hard time to all living species when it comes to the dark side of the fusion of Nature and Technology. Carbon Dioxide from Power Plants, Cars, Airplanes, Buildings, and Deforestation are all technologies used to give humans a more convenient and easy lifestyle. However, potentially doing the exact opposite to wildlife that habitat of the Arctic.
I have therefore produced a series of images and a website to reflect the impact of global warming and represent the dramatic effects it is causing on the environment. It aimed to produce five iconic images, which would make the person viewing the photos aware of the real effects of Global Warming, and I felt this could be achieved through surrealism and realism. Doing so adds a level of Hyper Reality, making it difficult for the audience to distinguish between what elements of the images are real and which ones are surreal. Adding this level of depth to the idea should encourage the user to think about the underlying meaning of global warming.
In all of my images, I have taken animals such as polar bears and penguins, which are iconic when talking about global warming, out of their natural habitat in which we associate them and put them in an environment in which we would not expect to see them. This would instantly make the audience think about why these animals were in that situation, hopefully making them realize that this is how these animals will end up if they do not do their bit to minimize Global Warming and the ugly outcome of unwise fusion of nature and technology.
An overlaying theme of these animals in these situations is how they have been made homeless due to the negative effects of technology, which has caused their habits to be destroyed. The scenarios I have put the animals in are typical of the ones of homeless people, giving the images an aspect of realism, however applying this to animals and putting them into the scenario of a homeless person adds elements of surrealism to the mix, as you do not see animals holding signs, which is intended to make the audience think about what is being portrayed.
Image One (above) has been designed to be clear, hard-hitting, and slightly monochromatic. These dull colors are associated with a cold, bleak winter’s day, which of course, is what this animal wants. However, his natural habitat has been removed due to the effects of global warming. The seal has a bright street light shining over him, which I feel is very relevant to the image as light pollution is another technological advance harming the o-zone, harming these animals.
I have placed a newspaper over him as this ties in well with recycling, which should happen more often to ensure this image remains surreal. The idea itself, without the “think! Global warming” logo and the tag line “technology won the war, nature gave up on the battle,” would have “limits of interpretation” (Umburto 1990) which means people may not instantly be aware the cause of the seal is on the bench, hence the logo and the tag line is implemented.
I gained inspiration for this image by trawling through homeless people’s pictures on Google and realized most of them were on some park bench. This got me thinking along the lines of stray animals, the consequences, and what they may do to help themselves if they were forced into this currently virtual world.
Image two (above) takes another stereotypical view of homeless people and turns it into one relevant to destroying the polar bear’s habitat. It implies the lack of care from humans; all three people are walking as far away from the bear as possible, the bowl in which it is asking for money is empty, and the woman at the front appears to be laughing at the sight of the bear being homeless.
This deals with critical issues of lack of understanding about global warming and implies humans’ selfish, materialistic attitude, which technological advances have brought about. I am showing this by having each person carry expensive designer shopping bags that all use natural materials and are produced in factories that are significant contributors of carbon dioxide into the o-zone.
I have applied the possible consequences of technology to my first three images. However, I wanted the next part of the campaign to focus on making the audience realize how technologies impact the environment. As I mentioned earlier, significant contributing factors are cars and factories, hence the production of images four and five.
Both of these images remain with the same logo as on the other pictures, as if it was released as a real advertising campaign; these would carry on in the series, however, portraying a similar meaning but focusing on the actual causes of global warming and not the effects as in the other three. But, nature and technology are to go hand in hand in the coming future, it is not possible to totally neglect the adoption of technology due to its disruptive attitude towards nature in cases.
I have portrayed my five images as a form of a charitable campaign to reduce global warming. The logo of the campaign “think! global warming” is semiotic, the icy backdrop on the text is intended to make people associate the Arctic with global warming, and the red text is used to indicate hot, as this color is used in everyday life to represent this such as on bathroom taps for example.
The same applies to the blue used in the logo and the website’s general theme, as people associate it with coldness. Both hot and cold are conflicting factors based on global warming. The typography lecture made me think deeply about how I should portray the text on the images and realize how important these considerations are. I wanted the campaign to be clear-cut and down to the point, sending a strong message to the audience.
I decided to use a sans-serif font as this is what websites based around the technology used; I also decided to use just minor case characters as this allowed the text to look more simplistic and easy to read as the audience doesn’t have to deal with grammar.
In summary, of this project, I feel as though my images are well related to the arising themes of global warming. They portray the problems that are being caused by technologies in a bid to try and make the target audience more aware than they already are of what will happen if we dont change our lifestyles to be more considerate. The disturbance created due to nature and technology on-going conflict is bringing catastrophic consequences for all living beings especially humans.