The BP oil spill fiasco seems to have fallen off our radar a bit, though the disaster is far from over. Will tells me spills of that magnitude have happened before on other, not so affluent off-shore eco-systems. Our Earth seems to have handled it; indeed if the last one was in the seventies, we ought to know if it hadn’t.
I can’t imagine seeing in the past those sickening images of pelicans and dolphins covered in oil, and having to see them again thirty years later. Those images are forever burned in my memory, and I imagine in yours too. I toyed with the idea of doing a Van Gogh My Pet series of oil slicked creatures, but I have never enjoyed portraying sadness and despair. It’s hard to imagine that our world would recover, and it’s rather sickening to me how little we hear about the continued fallout. I (perhaps conveniently) blame the media for our short attention span.
For the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with David Bowie. OBSESSED. Initially it was one of his earliest albums, Hunky Dory, on continual repeat, which was replaced after an appropriate amount of time with his subsequent album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. This album is a rock and roll opera, which Bowie intended to form the backbone of a stage show or television production (and it still should be).
The first track, Five Years, relates the devastating news that Earth’s days are numbered. Finitely numbered, in fact, with only five years to go. We’ve used up all our natural resources. Adults have given up; kids are left to plunder and ravage what’s left of the Earth.
The reality in their world seemed so hauntingly similar to our current situation, and so many other environmental situations I’ve worried and fretted about. This oil spill debacle seemed to me so much bigger than anything else. People close to me suggested that this spill would ruin the Southern portion of the United States, forcing a mass migration. The oil could be displaced via hurricanes and wind up poisoning our entire water supply. Crops could fail and even the salmon swimming happily in the Klamath River would sport a shiny black coat. Even without employing my overactive imagination, people were (are) out of work, and animals are dying (still!).
My favorite of the album is the fourth track, Starman. We learn of a being, “waiting in the sky; he’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds.” He knows how to help us, but is afraid we might be be unwilling to accept him or his knowledge–a valid concern. I’ve heard so many rumors of BP executives ignoring advice; as humans, we think, we feel, and we are stubborn.
Opening our ears, the Starman tells us “not to blow it cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.” A glimmer of hope! No matter how dark our reality might be, it is still worthwhile–life is still worthwhile. We still love, we can still laugh.
The Starman continues, “let the children lose it, let the children use it.” And it is so true; we are merely the stewards of our home. It is our children who will inherit it when we are gone. They have the freedom to do with it what they will, just as we have the freedom to do to it what we will. If we consider how it affects those following in our footsteps, perhaps we would take different paths.
As a Girl Scout, I have always been taught to take care of my surroundings. When I leave a camp site, I pick up as many pieces of trash as I can find–far more, indeed than I have left there. I know that the people who are camping there next will probably destroy it again, but I can only do what I can do. I think Starman would want it that way.
To honor this ambassador of hope I created this work:
I started with EJ DiMira’s body, which I cut out of Soap Opera Digest (quite an inspiration for me of late), added some images from Wikimedia Commons, and Photoshop flares to create his body. I had it printed on this crazy metallic paper that adds just the faintest glimmer to finish the piece.
Will wants me to send one to David Bowie. Julia challenged me to find his address, which ten seconds on google yielded (though I will probably only reach his publicist).
I’ve taken this as a challenge to create a triad of David Bowie inspired art, that will likely include elements from Soap Opera Digest. Once the triad is finished, and only then, will I send them to David Bowie. He has a habit of supporting unknown and budding artists. I have a daydream that perhaps one day he will have to phone someone and he will pick on me.