A Kingdom of BS

I just finished the first season of Mr. Robot, and I’m loving how it ended. In the last episode, Christian Slater’s character goes off on a rant about the “realness” of modern-day society, and he did it well. I found it refreshing for two reasons: he’s not complaining about the millennial generation, and he, himself, works around technology. It was sad how much I agreed with what he was yelling about, and then how quickly I wanted McNuggets after I finished that episode.

My English class just finished a unit on Romanticism, and I thought the criticism that the poets we studied and the actions of fsociety would pair well. I made an eclectic piece to turn in (in place of a formal response), and I actually like how it turned out. I explained the process and aesthetic in my artist’s statement, and I’m pasting it so I don’t have to write anymore.

“I was inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s decision to kill the crew in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner because it shows that support of a malicious act (or not trying to stop it) makes people as culpable as the actual offender. My piece focuses on the Romantic aversion to industrialization, and it ties to recent environmental issues, and those guilty of them.

I created a multimedia collage based on the text and on infamous environmental issues, and focused on who is responsible, and who is affected. The dead sailors, taken from Gustave Dore’s artwork, are orange to reference prison outfits, showing that they are to blame for the albatross’ death because they condoned the mariner’s actions.

Two of the most recent ecologically upsetting news stories have been the BP oil spill and Flint water crisis. Even though the former occurred in 2010, it is still topical today; earlier this week, BP was ordered to pay $20 billion in a settlement. Even though this payment is massive, it is nearly 6 years too late for all the animal deaths it caused. The spill’s effects are irreversible, and took a devastating toll on the environment. To reinforce BP’s culpability, I made the colours in the sign the exact shades from the company’s logo. I then added dying black birds to demonstrate the toxic effects of petroleum on animals. The ‘Flint Vehicle City’ sign stems from the recent surfacing of the water’s toxicity levels in Flint, Michigan. Its location and architecture were used as a “frame”, in reference to the frame references Romantic poets used. I overlayed a picture of an oil spillage to reference the line,“the water, like a witch’s oil, burnt green, and blue, and white”. It also connects back to the part of the story where all the men on board were ironically dehydrated, because the seawater that surrounded them had salt.

While creating my artwork, I hoped to convey the culpability and aftermath of disastrous actions. When the poem was written, Romantic poets were incredibly critical of anything that hurt nature, as shown by the sailors’ deaths. However, recent events have shown that the same is not said for modern gaffes. Furthermore, the consequences spread far- in the case of the modern events, they respectively will forever impact part of the environment and the children of Flint. I know the piece is pretty busy and all over the place, but I hope that it reflects Coleridge’s “spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. “We live in a kingdom of bullshit!” I love that line haha 🙂 Looking forward to season 2!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. visualvicky says:

      Yeah that line really resonates with me so much- it’s just perfect for the show and what it represents. I can’t wait for the next season too; thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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