What would life be like if humanity reached a point of near extinction and was then forced to start it all over again? Artist Bea Fremderman offers her interpretation of what this landscape might look like in How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, an ongoing solo exhibition at Shoot the Lobster New York.
As in most early civilizations, survival tools are of utmost importance in Fremderman's show. The artist reimagines a rudimentary flail as a stick with a rubber band and nail head attached to one another via bungee telephone cord. An arrow is the result of a branch and motherboard data chip connected by dental floss. Fremderman's hammer is the marriage of an old Sprint cellphone and a thick stick. The cultural detritus of today becomes the equivalent to the flint and bone of the Stone Age.
"The technology weapons are about the outmoded products of capitalism that would once against serve us in a post-apocalyptic, post-capitalist society," the artist explains to Creators. "Since these technologies have become outdated, they just lay around in electronic scrap yards waiting to be picked apart for gold. I love the idea that what is outmoded can become valuable again but for a completely different reason."
Of course, not everything made in a domesticated society is usable in a primitive landscape or survives the trials of nature. An abandoned clothesline, upon which are hung a sweatshirt, a tank top, and a pair of jeans, is overrun by moss-like sprouts from the passage of time. Birdhouse, the only wall work of the show, is a vertically hung shoe with a hole in its sole, likely becoming the new home of an avian family.
Different than most visions of the apocalypse or collapse of society, How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself doesn't feel pessimistic or cynical. Fremderman posits an increasingly likely futurescape with an empathetic sense of realism. "My interest in the apocalypse comes from the reality that we are approaching a point of no return in our struggle against climate change, and that the economic system we function under is accelerating that demise," Fremderman explains.
"Many of our electronic products and technologies are part of the reason we would be facing an apocalyptic ending, because our need for new things and technology has a big impact on global warming," Fremderman adds. "I'm really interested in all of the trash we've accumulated and how these objects at one point possessed so much value."