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Ars Natura: Climate Swan Song

  • Posted by karl burkart on February 7, 2010 in Art
  • As many of you know I am a favored target for the climate denier community, and sometimes their jabs and death threats do bother me. But most of the time I just feel sorry for them. After all they are singing their own swan song – all of ours actually.

    The more we delay on real energy regulation and the more the climate conspiracy community perpetuates the obfuscation of scientific reality at the behest of mega-rich oil and coal companies, the closer and closer we get to sealing a fate that none of us wants to see, whatever our political stripes may be.

    It’s a particular emotion that has been extremely hard for me to express verbally – part disgust, part sympathy – so the second I saw the installation Swan Song by a young Estonian artist named Jass Kaselaan on display at the Hobusepea Gallery in Tallinn City, I felt that my personal feelings about the human race in its mostly oblivious collision course with doom was finally made manifest...in epoxy resin.

    The work is extremely disturbing. A choir of pigs about to be slaughtered are being conducted in singing a sentimental song about their homeland (and assumedly about the greatness of pigs). The choral arrangement is a direct reference to an earlier work by the artist in which grotesquely disfigured human sailors cast in resin sang a song about the freedom of the seas.

    While the pigs are anything but silent – the screeching, sawing sound truly stuck with me for days – the artist has remained almost totally silent on any direct symbolism intended by the work.

    But given that this exhibition opened just a few days before the Copenhagen climate talks in Denmark, and the fact that Estonia has itself seen a retreat of its last remaining continental glacier, with the best of post-modern intentions this blogger is going to project his own interpretation:

    The pigs are the climate deniers.

    And notice they are being lead in their proud piggy song not by a man in a suit (as Kaselaan’s previous work) but by ANOTHER PIG. The lesson: Even the people who are leading the ranks of those that want to block progress in protecting our climate are dooming themselves in the process.

    - Karl Burkart

    Watch video footage of installation here.


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