Art and the Doomsday Scenario

Scavenger ©2015 WTEK nickel, brass, acrylic, wood 18 ¾” x 8 ¾” x 4 ½” $1,300.00 My version of PA art

Maybe it’s growing up in the 80s – the tail end of the Cold War – or maybe it’s just my secret craving for anarchy, but I’m drawn to apocalypse type scenarios. I even belong to a Goodreads book club called Apocalypse Whenever. Sometimes it’s a surprise ending for the Earth, but sometimes the world has a chance to save humanity -keep it from extinction.

Naturally, I imagine what would actually happen in these scenarios. If our earth had the chance to save the best of humanity in order to continue our species into the future, who would they choose to save? Of course you’d have to save scientists – they’re the ones who know how to make things happen. But what other skills would be found practical? Which are worth saving?

Sadly, I think in this day and age the artists would lose out in this scenario. In America art isn’t seen as necessary. It’s cut from our schools, it’s the last thing people would buy, it’s seen as frivolous and just icing on the cake. I really don’t think it would even be considered as save worthy.

Mad Max: Fury Road – best film of 2015? In my book it is. Obviously these guys understood the importance of art as spectacle.

But what would humanity lose without that creative spark? Even neanderthals have been found to use adornment and they find earlier and earlier evidence of cave painting. Art and creativity are a part of our DNA. If you breed out this kind of thinking, the ability to see what isn’t there yet, imagination, I believe our humanity will be lost. We’ll become stagnant, unable to see the best and the worst in the future.

Maybe there would be enough creative spark in those scientists they hide away to keep us safe, but do we really want to take the chance that on our future as humans? Might as well just let the machines win…

4 thoughts on “Art and the Doomsday Scenario

  1. Wendy, I think, no matter what the scenario, humans will always find a way, a need, and a means to create art.
    It may not be art as you or I define it, but it will still be an expression of the spirit.

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    1. But if you deliberately don’t choose to save the people who create art, won’t you be basically breeding that tendency out? Even if you think that it’s inherent to the species, you’d be selecting a culture that doesn’t see the point, so it would take a lot of rebelling against the system to make it important in any way again.

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  2. I think you’re selling humanity short. More people are capable of good art than are producing it. Some don’t have the opportunity, means, or encouragement to do so. But in a scenario where society collapses I think that people would naturally want to reclaim some of what made them feel deeply before. Of course even in the development of our own species art didn’t have time to really grow until our basics needs were met to a point where the luxury of free-time existed and that might hold true even if artists were saved. But someone who already has an artists eye and perspective would definitely be a valued asset even in survival. As Bob Ross would say ‘All you need is a dream in your heart’. ;p

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    1. I often do sell humanity short…
      But I guess my main point is still that I feel the people who would chose those that get to survive aren’t necessarily going to see that sort of value. Maybe it’s really just a disappointment in the way our culture (at least in the US) has been shifting. I get your point, but do they is my ultimate question I guess.

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