“We don’t want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos.” – Stanislaw Lem, “Solaris”
The 21st century is one of the most terrifying centuries in human history. Who knows if it’s not the beginning of the end of civilization? Maybe right now we are approaching, step by step, self-annihilation. It is only now that we are trying to save the planet, whose ecological destruction we have already started through industrial expansion. We struggle with drought, floods, plagues and a pandemic. We fight for every breath, protecting ourselves and our children from smog. And it is right now that we start to think that maybe somewhere in space there is a planet similar to ours, where we can start a new life. For many years it has been a fantasy of the authors of Sci-Fi novels, who used words to paint pictures of cities built on distant planets, places where humans can start a new life.
Entering the “Into the Future” gallery, I feel a bit like Kris, the main character of Lem’s novel “Solaris”. A scientist and explorer, living alone on the titular planet, learning it, discovering it.
The ground floor is a beautiful story of discovery. Discovering a new place, still with some amount of hesitance, with some fear and hope that this this might be a place that hides secrets about other civilizations and new opportunities. Viewing each subsequent work of the artist is like getting closer to this desired goal. Hope and curiosity combined with a lingering fear bring the galactic traveler closer to the Unknown.
The second floor of the gallery is filled with works presenting evidence of the existence of life. We see cosmic architecture, shapes unlike any on Earth. Objects resembling cocoons from which something will hatch in the nearest future. Like Kris I move forward, full of hope, anxious about knowing what will happen next. There is a reason why Hermes titled this part of his exhibition “The first signs of life”.
On the third and last floor, we see works depicting much more advanced civilizations. We come across a sage, buildings, something like a device or an oracle.
But perhaps the most touching image is at the very end of this interplanetary journey. It is a vision of a child on a swing, so much like a prosaic picture of life on earth, and yet so terrifying. Is it an encounter with the next generation that will have to look for a different place in space to live? Or maybe it is a warning that in the face of millions of years of cosmic existence, we are children, inexperienced and killing ourselves along with our planet? Or is it a sage who is trying to warn us?
Perhaps my interpretation is too subjective, and the artist had something completely different in mind. However, isn’t the goal of artists to evoke different associations and emotions through their work?
Visit “The Explorers” by Hermes Kondor and discover it for yourself!
This exhibition is displayed at the “Into the Future” Art Gallery, part of the Kondor Art Center. Click HERE to visit it inworld.