What will be the consequences of the world we are building?
I often ask myself this question and immediately afterwards I say to myself that who knows, my age, which is no longer so young, leads me to have a pessimistic vision of the future. At that point my thoughts return to the depths of my being, but the seed remains, ready to germinate as soon as I hear of a new scientific report or even simply, as soon as I see individual behaviors that corroborate my fears. In recent days everything that has been said around COP 28 has kept me very, very worried.
However, the available data are clear and go towards confirming that we will have to face catastrophic situations due to climate change, that we should implement adaptations to our lifestyle in order to fit our living to environmental changes, that migratory flows and who knows conflicts will take place, due to the need to resist and survive. The question is when this will happen and who knows these processes are already underway, but we confuse them and link them to other causes. For example, I believe that this year, unequivocally and for the first time, the Western world has felt first-hand the evident increase in extreme climatic phenomena throughout the year.
However, there are many, too many economic interests in maintaining the “status quo” and what’s more, none of us is really willing to do without the comforts we have become used to, for the good of humanity. It is symptomatic that the 1% of the world population that constitutes the “super-rich” caste has already set in motion to find survival solutions which, far from helping Humanity, will serve exclusively to save themselves. What does it mean to save yourself in such catastrophic context? Who knows, it might simply mean delaying the end by locking oneself in golden cages… but survival consists precisely in this: in resisting in the hope of finding a possible solution in the suffering or annihilation of the “mass population”.
With all this in mind, it is normal that in moments in which my subconscious prevails overactive consciousness, unknown spaces often open in me in which I find myself traveling, guided by suppositions like “what would happen if…”. In one of these astral journeys, I visited one of these futuristic worlds which, upon my return, thanks to the help of artificial intelligence, I wanted to represent visually. It was a world in which Nature had taken refuge and had taken possession of what had been people’s refuges, in the hope of being able to reconquer the outside world when Humanity had suffered a demographic catastrophe sufficient to make it harmless and marginal.
When I did this astral travel, I found myself in a skyscraper apartment in a megalopolis of the future; from the immense windows of the building, I could sense the deafening noises of a life without much meaning. Over there, the Humanity was living… an humanity who had stolen every corner of space from Nature and Nature, a shattered Nature, who, to survive, found refuge inside the hives built by humans to survive. Nature found refuge where Humanity had created its own refuge.
Looking towards the interior of the apartment, the sensation was of being in spaces that humanity had abandoned: no human presence but full of imprints of a past existence. They were very welcoming and cozy spaces in which Nature had taken possession and in which animals had taken refuge to save themselves destroyed by nostalgia but still full of dignified beauty; spaces with huge windows and views of the outside “human world”.
The panorama that I was perceiving from the huge windows was totally discouraging: chaos, noise, cement, hustle and bustle, Nature tamed and caged. Inside the animals lived in the anechoic silence made of resigned nostalgia, however showing themselves in all their haughty and dignified beauty.
Nature has to be the stage of our “theatre” again; it has to become an integral part of our living again. We live in a technologically advanced, but emotionally primitive world; a world in which feeling and living are so separated that, instead of supporting each other, they hinder each other, creating an emotional gap in us. Let’s recover the essence found in Nature, let’s preserve biodiversity; let’s empathize with our neighbor, with our environment and with essentiality. Let’s make sure that our daily life is more sustainable and assume the need to give up something now rather than everything tomorrow.
When my astral body reconnected with my physical one through the silver thread, the first sensation I felt was a deep sadness and helpless because the signs of that world can already be seen in the current world; we are actually doing very little to reverse the trend. However, immediately afterwards a feeling of optimism and hope prevailed: the idea that Nature finds a possibility of salvation in the shelters that Humanity has built to defend itself could be a sign of a possible and necessary union of action between Humanity and Nature.
The idea of visually representing this “dream delirium” was a need that I brought with me when I returned from this trip. I started to make some attempts, trying to create photographic composites that required an almost infinite amount of time between searching for the images I had in my head, the difficulty of composing them together digitally and obtaining something acceptable. Since I learned to use generative AI, what had long been a project in the drawer that never saw the light, has become a reality in which my purpose and my idea has taken shape and form in a series of images that they satisfy me fully. As I have already expressed several times in Dodho. I consider generative AI as a work tool that must necessarily be supported by an artistic intention or by an intention of thought. It provides me with an expressive freedom that makes me fly.
In the case of Astral Journey, the different types of images that make up the series were generated in Midjourney through the gradual refinement of three different prompts, through a process of trial and error, supported by continuous explorations in Google and in the Midjourney library to test the most appropriate keywords to include. For some of the images, I combined the prompt with some photographs taken by me of natural environments full of silence. After obtaining these images, I passed them through Stable Diffusion to improve them through Inpainting, ControlNet and Upscaler. Inpainting allows me to refine the composite by adding, eliminating or correcting individual elements; ControlNet allows me to standardize the general appearance of the images to give them visual uniformity; the Upscaler allows me to improve the details and clarity of the image, at the same time obtaining fine-art quality images.
Merry Christmas and a sustainable and solidarity 2024