Before the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 became a global health crisis, humanity was on the brink of its initial face off with the environmental damage it has wrought since the Industrial Revolution. Natural disasters induced by climate change, an immigration wave that is yet to crest, and a worldwide pandemic highlighting the disparities in governing systems all point to a realization we humans can no longer ignore. This earth, which humanity has claimed to be the center of, and has claimed dominance and entitlement over, is perfectly capable of surviving without us. Will our species acknowledge their humble place in the universe and develop respectful ways of coexisting with nature?
At the End of the Day explores this line of questioning, featuring works that address the distinction between exploitation and coexistence, migration and conquering, and memory and monumentalizing. The selection, which counts Ursula K. Le Guin's 1972 novella The Word for World is Forest among its points of reference, finds its roots in a world similar to that of the fictional Athshe, a once-peaceful planet colonized by humans and stripped of its natural resources. Drawing from hyper-consumerism and overproduction, false notions of nature as a commodity or a mere backdrop to human experience, and the mass migrations of climate refugees—which are all sure to mark the coming century—the works included in this show invite viewers to reconsider their relationship to and with the environment.
During this crucial period of understanding and realization, in which we become fully aware of the threats posed by overusing natural resources in the name of pleasure and profit while ignoring the earth’s ecological balance, this exhibition shines the light of the present on the possibilities for our collective future, for better or for worse.