END GAME PART II SLEEP WELL
‘End Game’ is a collaboration between Todd McMillan and Zoë Sadokierski, through which the artists attempt to understand widespread apathy toward environmental issues. The prints in ‘End Game Part 1: Possible Cost of Complacency’ explorednonchalance towards human-induced climate change. No less ambitious or bleak in theme, ‘End Game Part 2: Sleep Well’ focuses on the escalating extinction rates of animal species, including humans.
Through ongoing conversations and shared readings, Todd and Zoë inform and respond to each other’s work. ‘End Game: Part 2’ draws on ideas from Margaret Atwood’s fictional trilogy ‘Maddaddam’ and Yuval Noah Harari’s non-fiction Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Harari positions Homo sapiens as “an ecological serial killer” and suggests our apathy is due to ignorance:
Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology. Perhaps if more people were aware of the First Wave and Second Wave extinctions, they’d be less nonchalant about the Third Wave they are part of. If we knew how many species we’ve already eradicated, we might be more motivated to protect those that still survive.” (82)
Atwood speculates a future in which humans are responsible for mass extinction and, through genetic engineering, unleash hybrid creatures that may cause our own extinction. Although fictional, Atwood states the trilogy “does not include any technologies or biobeing that do not already exist, are not under construction, or are not possible in theory.”
In responding to these authors, Todd’s images and Zoë’s speculative diagrams beg us to question how long we have left on the planet, and how much of the animal kingdom we’ll take down on the way. Sleep well.
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