Currently open at the Into the Future Gallery of Hermes Kondor’s Kondor Arts Centre, is an exhibition by Caly Applewhyte entitled No Futur. The easiest way to describe this exhibition is to use Caly’s own description:
No Futur [is] a very French expression that refers to the uncertain future of our world. this exhibition is an illustration of this idea that our world seems to be running to its ruin with our madness of “progress”.
We are constantly trying to do better or more … more technology, more biotechnology, more money of course … but in the end, we may wonder if we are not doing worse. What we are experiencing today is only a bad start if our powerful political and industrial leaders do not realise that economic growth at all costs is only a countdown … game over.
– Caly Applewhyte
Given this description, it is clear that this is an exhibition that has a sombre lean. It might also be thought that given Caly’s words, it focuses on issues of the political-industrial complex that – as Caly notes – is pulling us towards possible destruction. However, this latter view would be in error.
Rather than focusing on political indifference (and / or denial) and industries that continue to find the needs of board room returns of a higher priority than that of committing more fully to ethical, environmentally friendly means of doing business, these are pieces that focus on the individual, either directly or indirectly. This makes them far more personal in nature, with all of them carrying a distinct lean towards matters of ecology and the environment, and the damage we are doing to it through pollution and climate change.
Gas masked, often in an environment suit, sometimes an adult at others more child-like, the figures within these pieces are set within environments where it is clear the air is no longer if to breathe and monuments crumble in a toxic environment. There are figures that walk deserted streets, who even when indoors need isolated pods and / or continue use of masks to assist with breathing. In some, eyes stare out at us in pleading, in others that stare wistfully at a world they can no longer freely share, or who hug rocks they can no longer feel thanks to the separating barrier of an environment suit.
With only a single figure in each image, these are all pieces that also emphasise our essential isolation from the world. We’ve allowed ourselves to be cut off from it through the technology Caly notes and the creature comforts of modern life; we’ve created metaphorical barriers between ourselves and nature. All of which appears to be referenced as well, through the use of fences within several of the images.
Sombre it may be, but No Futur is nevertheless rich in expression, message and artistry.
- No Futur at Into the Future, Kordor Art Centre (Waka, rated Moderate)