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Overconsumption is Killing Us (2018-Present)

Overconsumption is Killing Us is an unsanctioned street-installation series painted on last chance food and junk advertisements I received weekly in the mail as a commentary on overconsumption and how it correlates with climate change and the destruction of habitats for species in fragile ecosystems, often out of site and mind of humans. The goal of these pieces is to create conversation about the processes preceding and proceeding the food and products we purchase, questioning our personal responsibility to the greater world and the urgency for corporate responsibility.

 

I have placed more that 25 pieces of work internationally in Germany, France, England, the entire west coast of the US and in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland in the mid-Atlantic region.

The Evolution of Overconsumption.

 

Our trash and chemical waste flows into rivers from cities and farms; where there isn’t room in our rivers, large swaths of land became dumps while incinerators burn toxic waste into our skies. Oil is extracted from deep in the earth; dead organic matter, buried by the earth’s natural processes over thousands of years, extracted and spewed out onto the earth, leaking into our water, acidifying the oceans, vaporizing into our skies. Death from a past world, inciting death in our present world. With the invention of petroleum, came plastics, leading to our one time use, throw away culture. Our one time use plastics contain all the products we need to complete our exorcism from our natural environment. We clean our bodies, dishes, clothes, houses in toxic chemicals with artificial scents that ironically represent the world we were once a part of, washing them away down the drain and into our surrounding ecosystems and oceans. In the process of supply and demand, we have created food that purposely doesn’t represent the animals of whom were likely torcherd their entire life, killed, ground up, processed, breaded and fried, then placed in pretty plastic packaging designed to grab our attention and enhanced with everything our brain craves - salt, fat, and sugar.  The separation is almost complete, we don’t have to smell, touch, or eat anything that looks natural, because nature is dirty, nature is unsophisticated, nature is inconvenient.

 

Where did our separatism come from?

 

The Old Testament taught that God gave humans dominion over the earth. After, Christianity was formed as a way of rule and it abolished pagan and indigenous cultures throughout the known world that deemed nature as the supreme force. With that came the euro-centric notion of vast conquest. Setting out into the unknown as the superior, claiming any land and everything on it as their possessions. The oppressed beliefs eventually aligning with their oppressors out of fear. This was the beginning of our now engrained mentality that allows us to so easily and unknowingly disrespect the planet we live on today. Earth, land, sea, air, became considered possessions, realms to conquer, rather than a universal right for all.

 

Thousands of years pass and the industrial revolution began which preceded the current technological revolution. Both spearheaded by corporate identities in collaboration with governments, creating a world in which the dark side of the processes preceding and proceeding our food and goods are hidden from consumers, processes out of harmony with the planet and it’s natural cycles. Goods produced largely by exploitation and cheap labor from  indigenous people the white-western world has labeled as primitive savages living within the biodiverse lands or “hostile environments.” 

 

These processes have gone through so many generations, that our generation is now a victim of circumstance. Born into this throw away lifestyle and it repercussions, the idea of change incites such fear in so many, denial of consequence is a typical first reaction upon realization. A denial made easy because of the shadows cast by corporate powers over the most unsettling parts of the processes preceding and proceeding what we consume from them. The idea that we are the final generation who set off the planet’s next great extinction, possibly our own, and our children’s is so chilling, it is no surprise that a majority of Americans, the inventors of our throw culture, laugh at a 98% scientific consensus that climate change is accelerated by humans. Deep at the core of it, it means each of us, in some way have been responsible for that starving polar bear or that child who has to walk 12 miles for clean water. 

 

We are now in a stage that we are truly seeing the planet as we have known it die... and ourselves. Our dominion is looking more and more like defeat as the planet starts to regulate itself. Our oceans almost unfishable, filled with toxins, our air almost unbreathable during the increasing hot days, our food genetically and chemically engineered, doused in pesticides, killing off the pollinators we need to produce more food. 

 

Our convenient and unconscious capitalist culture is manifesting itself. In our external world, ecosystems are collapsing, mass extinction is ensuing, our presence has become a cancer on earth. But we too, as beings of this planet, reflect our earth. Internally, our new way of life has lead to disease and cancers that seem to exponentially increase with our denial and fears.

 

We must educate and empower ourselves to find a balance with the planet and it’s natural cycles again. We must create a system of corporate responsibility and accountability. We need to advance our conversation into action. 

 

Overconsumption is killing us.

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Piece for Exhibit "Repurposed with a Purpose" at Maryland Art Place, fall 2018, curated by Doreen Bolger.