15. The Icebergs

op_suburbanicebergsWhen I first began planning “The Icebergs”, my idea was to make an immediate graphic connection between our society’s choices and their consequences.  A big house in the suburbs and Global Climate Change.  The melting Arctic sea ice is an abstract concept whose reality exists thousands of miles away, far from the daily concerns (and our daily sources of information.)  What if those houses were afloat in the sea ice?  That would be pretty immediate, don’t you think?

After I completed the piece, I got much more of the feeling of isolation that comes with life in modern America.  I’ve just read a piece in the Utne Reader a few weeks back, an excerpt from a new book called The Lonely American.  The article hit me directly.  I wrote this to the editor at Utne:

“When I returned from my travels in Latin America to the United States, what culture-struck me the hardest was the degree of isolation in Americans’ lives. Wow, what a contrast from virtually every country I visited. I was never able to adequately give voice to my concerns, because, as “The Lonely American” points out, so many Americans are proud to have chosen this independent—and horribly lonely—lifestyle.”

These floating and garishly colored boxes are windowless.  They have no connection to the natural world.  Even if the doors were flung wide open, the people standing in the doorway couldn’t see each other!  In effect, these “houses” have become islands, isolated from the rest of the world, from each other.  And yet, our culture reveres this grand sense of independence.  A garage we can call our very own.  Bigger is better. And it’s all mine (or at least until the bank forecloses.)

Image featured on Harmony Wishes.

~ by Delfino on 2009/04/02.

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