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The Human Condition is a concept that can be defined from numerous viewpoints depending on your culture, religion, upbringing, and current status. The customary definition given for the ‘Human Condition’ is, “the ability to rebound and to heal is the normality for every individual no matter their physical abilities, when we are knocked down we get back up and continue forward, it’s in all of us.” (‘The human condition’, 2019) These emotions are uniform in every human being that results from life chapters that most of us experiences such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality.
(‘Human condition’, 2019) The general effect of humans and the relationship that we have with the natural environment binds us with the ability to coexist with nature and that every individual is accepted into this effect due to the major presence that the natural world has compared to the number of humans. Jill Chism is a professional North Queensland Public Artist and sees herself as a custodian representative for the environment and is proven in, or this is communicated in ‘Sharing, November 2011’.
Mel Chin also uses his artwork to provoke enlightened stewardship of human actions in relation to global warming realities, through ‘Wake & Unmoored, July 2018’ this concept is displayed uniquely.
Mel Chin uses a larger scale to seize the attention of millions who are locals and tourists passing by in a common setting, New York’s Time Square. ‘Wake & Unmoored’ is a large-scale installation that evokes the hull of a ship and skeletal remains of a marine mammal.
Parts of a shipwreck, are puzzled to fit in with the ship pieces like the bleached bones of a massive beast. The use of the shipwreck, the old bones of a mammal, creates and sparks meaningful change around social issues and the timely topic of current and evolving times which is climate change. By implementing the huge statue of the Opera star, it draws emotions of fear because of the absence of warming gestures such as a smile or the use of color. It also enforces such power and significance, having the ability to empower the message of climate change. Mel Chin partnered with Microsoft to generate a visceral experience that audience members can participate in, exploring mixed realities of the present times and times to come. This virtual experience gives an insight to millions of people about the increase of global warming and to ask themselves, ‘Has global warming gone unchecked?’. Through the virtual Google, audience members are able to feel like New York Times Square is entirely underwater due to melting ice caps, erosion, and coastal flooding. This additional experience leaves a far greater impression on audience members due to the realistic environment that is portrayed through the goggles, encouraging them to act on their “fears” immediately. This oversize art project, Chin enables audiences to spark a deeper and personal investigation through digital devices and to stimulate thoughts and ideas of human action in relation to global warming realities.
Mel Chin insinuates social and global issues on platforms of television, destroyed homes, and popular meeting places. Constructing the ‘Wake, July 2018’ is a banner, advertising historic events, names and forms possibilities, and making choices. Making choices that will rotate the cliché methods of humans regarding nature and inspiring them to make choices that contribute positively to the environment, saving waters from rising and trees from decreasing. The colossal project that presents itself in the heart of New York, alone acquires numerous minds to reflect on the purpose of the sculpture, which is climate change and their actions that are compact but add up to a substantial problem. Already having audience members wander and decide if they will be a part of the change to fix the increase of gas and melting ice or continue to live in an unhealthy world that is slowly deteriorating. Ironically Mel Chin decided to present his vision that would be encompassed by many LED signs advertising the modern-day trends. This decision proves Chin’s position on climate change and how eager he is to make aware of today’s society of the unchecked issue of global warming. When observing the artwork, the majority of the public will study the woman statue who is the “first popstar”. Mel Chin uses her as a connection to a contemporary audience as many icons of modern society are worshipped and followed, and by utilizing her existence many observers may relate to the impact she had when she was a ‘well-known icon’.
Jill Chism’s art practice is deeply spiritual with questions about who we are, how we interact with each other, and the cosmos at the center of her thematic inquiry. Due to the fact that Chism sees herself as a custodian of the natural environment, she opens up pathways and ideas that others do not see unless they have the same passion for the environment as she does. The platform of art allows her to create and put into practice the visions, ideas, and issues into projects, sculptures, and artworks. The artwork, ‘Sharing, November 2011’, literally mirrors the current state of its surroundings, communicating a message to the local community of taking responsibility in caring for nature and having the certainty that what is being mirrored, is an environment that is clean and presentable. Through her example of collecting waste on her local shores, recycling the waste into both ephemeral and fixed works for natural sites and gallery environments, providing materials for her personal artworks and other artists and museums. Her experiences have contributed to the construction of this artwork, cleaning local areas around her, starting a movement to decrease the human waste that is increasing. By cleaning her local areas, the mirrors used in the project are the same concept, which is trying to get local members to be self-conscious about their decisions relating to their garbage disposal and picking up waste even if it isn’t theirs. These mirrors that reflect natural features that are peacefully developing are a natural and materialistic personal and meaningful aesthetic. Chism offers opportunities for individuals to deepen their connection to nature, by observing and studying what their minds decide and understanding processes and creation of ephemeral sculpture. Jill Chism tries to create a relationship with the environment openly with the public trying to create a pathway for her audience to follow, “My aim is to be open and self-instructive as a model of behavior and a way to create change.” (‘Jill Chism > Environmental Art’, 2019)
Chism paints artworks of the surroundings and the physical features that are present near the water’s edge, where many of the man-made buildings are placed. ‘Water’s edge, 2008-2009’ is a title for a five artwork series and showcases the gorgeous scenery that lakeside, riverside, and ocean sides provide when they are cared for and not polluted with garbage. She takes a common area of the water where numerous people from many cultures go to, enjoy the same body of water, and showcases what it can and will look like if it is consistently looked after. Some of the more potent issues include the alarming accumulation of toxic and plastic waters in earth oceans such as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, where 100 million tonnes of plastic circulates in two vast linked areas of the Pacific Ocean. Locally, water ‘run-off’ along the Queensland coast has significant impacts on the reef and diminishing marine life. Her work is a stand to her opinion concerning the increase of houses and leaving no room for nature to live. It’s a comment on the play between art and architecture and the solution Chism is trying to find where both infrastructure and the natural world and exist as one. The displacement of nature, that results from the ongoing suburban development in the Cairns region is the general issue that Chism tries to display through the mirrors and having nothing else but to sit and “reflect”. The project contains glass images of the local waterways and drawn leaves floating in the water. Quotes were collected from neighbor participants and were contributed to the art sculpture and add to its reflective nature. This creates a family vibe that enables the community to be a part of a project that represents a great cause to help assist with the issue of climate change, making it an easier process to be a part of.
At a moment in our history, we are contending with some of the most challenging social, political, and ecological conditions, artists have an influential key that is displayed through artworks and sculptures which unlock doors that may be closed by personal circumstances or laws. The Human Condition allows us to feel sympathy or anger with the actions of others or ourselves and with climate change being an immense issue these emotions are felt. As humans living on earth, an environment that needs to be cared for in order for surroundings to maintain their state, there is an attachment that we feel because it’s our home. These emotions of attachment lead us to be persuaded to help change the actions of others and ourselves when we see artworks and sculptures like Mel Chin’s or Jill Chism’s, that have subtle but large statues of art that inspire us to evolve we act and think.
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