That to Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die. -Michel de Montaigne, Essays
The human psyche naturally rebels against the idea of its end. -Ray Scranton, The New York Times
[In] March [of 2013], Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, told security and foreign policy specialists… that global climate change was the greatest threat the United States faced — more dangerous than terrorism, Chinese hackers and North Korean nuclear missiles. -Ray Scranton, The New York Times
We have entered a new epoch in Earth’s geological history, one characterized by the arrival of the human species as a geological force. -Ray Scranton, The New York Times (emphasis mine)
If homo sapiens (or some genetically modified variant) survives the next millenniums, it will be survival in a world unrecognizably different from the one we have inhabited. -Ray Scranton, The New York Times (emphasis mine)
As I have continued to explore the harmful chemicals found in the umbilical cords of minority newborns, it occurred to me that the normalization of an otherwise absurd reality (toxic chemicals in umbilical cords? Really? It sounds light something from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -oooze! Oh no!) might be best confronted by a satirical response. I’ve chosen to utilize a (hopefully) fictitious dystopian future narrative in order to address the risks to which we are subjecting pregnant women and their children. I debated tackling this in several ways including:
A. Greeting Cards From The Anthropocene
a series of congratulatory and/or birth announcement cards for newborn children. Sampling: “Congratulations! Baby Esmerelda is a charm! We’re so happy to hear that her life expectancy exceeds forty years despite her extremely underdeveloped atria.” I also considered
B. PSAs For Pregnant Women
which I envisioned would play out as a series of photographs of myself (or another woman) that would be made to appear pregnant while ingesting various toxins in both fluid and solid states. We could condemn the pregnant woman’s actions in the same way we might condemn drug addicts’. I ultimately moved away from this model because it seemed that it would be almost too easy to dismiss the message of this series and instead make the woman culpable despite it being a satirical piece. Finally, I arrived at
C. Your Favorite Baby Shower Gift
Which seemed almost too perfect because it has the added bonus of criticizing a particularly western consumption culture (in which I am all too guilty in participating). It also seemed to be the medium by which I’d be able to offer the most full narrative of the aforementioned dystopia, and the most powerful mechanism by which I could attempt to -for lack of a better term- scare the shit out of my audience in a very tangible way.
I propose that for my final version of this project, I generate the actual “kit” that I am pitching in these RELIANZE advertisements, along with full “scientific” explanations for each kit item and its inclusion. Heavy emphasis will be placed on the mitigative/adaptive effects each item is intended to have. These explanations will be based on the research that I have conducted on Body Burden, and will address the most harmful effects of Body Burden, specifically on minority newborns.
Additional Resources New York Times, Floating Islands Look Like Less of a Pipe Dream; Ray Scranton, Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene; Glenn Dyer and Stephanie Wakefield, Notes from the Anthropocene #1, Brooklyn Rail ; Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement, part 4: “politics”; All icons via the Noun Project.