Tour of Suicide Narcissus: At the Renaissance Society
Featuring eight artists, Suicide Narcissus is a group exhibition meant to serve as a contemporary vanitas. Maybe the Mayans weren't referring to an event but a mindset. Although the world did not end in 2012, climate change has forced us to think about our fate as a species, to confront the thought of our extinction wondering if we are an exception. Clearly, the grand evolutionary scheme of things tells us no. Human history relative to natural history amounts to a mere speck in time. The earth was here long before us, and it will be here long after us. Over the 3.5 billion years of life on earth, countless species have come and gone. While this is a humbling thought, as the planet's dominant species, we are less defined by our humility and more by our chauvinism. The will to survive has become the right to survive, a right whose abuse has made startlingly clear the fragile parameters governing terrestrial life. Our ecological crisis taints all facets of our relationship to nature such that culture and our quest for knowledge can only be juxtaposed against reflections on folly, catastrophe and death.