The way that the industrial revolution brought on a grotesque perversion of nature is somewhat baffling to think about because it is not something that is brought to our attention on an approachable level. The idea of humanity’s invasion of the natural world with our technological advances is often swept under the rug, or we have it put into terms of the extreme with crises and scientists’ predictions of the world’s impending doom. Although I do believe that we are at a point in this world where we definitely have to make some huge changes, but that is not what I am talking about in this post. No soapbox required!
I wanted to focus on the imposition that the technological world has brought upon the natural world with a few images from one of my favourite artists, Vladimir Kush. Vladimir uses artwork to express his ideas and beliefs, much like any artist, but I am absolutely blown away by the way that he connects the natural with the technological.
This painting shows the wasteland around the technology that the man is responsible for. Although the technology is literally larger than the man, I think it is a symbolic of the heavy responsibility of our technological advances and their effects on the natural world. The nature around the device is lacking fertility and life whilst the device is void of vibrance and its similarity to a clock perhaps suggests that the time of the ignorant technological world is ticking away.
This picture of the chameleon being constructed shows how humanity has to interfere even where adaptation is a natural concept. Humanity’s perversion of the natural world does not cease. The hybridity of the chameleon and technology also shows how the chameleon must be stripped of its natural beauty in order to adapt to the industrial world.
These two paintings show the destructive and aggressive ways the human world has imposed its technology. This kind of imagery is reminiscent of Ginsberg in the way that there is this pollution of human interference, yet there is still beauty in the natural world even though it is covered by the filth of the alterations of the technological progressions of humanity.
Left: Full Steam Ahead by Vladimir Kush, Right: Caterpillar by Vladimir Kush
There are many other paintings, and artists for that matter, that depict the grotesque nature of the industrial revolution or at least its effects. I think by having these artistic representations of the natural world being mutated by the technological world we are able to think about where the natural world fits into the world we have created. Most times human beings do not even make enough room for each other, but that is a different topic of the grotesque.