/22 Outer spaces

Lucy Helton

Actions of Consequence

l 179° 56′ 39.4″ b +0° 2′ 46.2″
25,900 ± 1,400 ly
4.54 ± 0.05 1 × 109 + 200

Actions of Consequence is a fictional photographic construct of an unearthly world. Stripped of the carpet of life, the planet I have created, is composed of strange geological landscapes that suggest a catastrophic past. My black and white photographs contain a visual play between the real and the imagined, and incorporate a variety of imaging strategies such as; panoramas, stitched photographs, and aerial imagery. Some photographs are appropriated scientific imagery, without their original purpose and context identified. Other photographs play with the viewers sense of scale, place, and time. Shot from multiple view points and perspectives, these photographs always aim to create an experience of exploration and examination. At once deeply personal and dystopic, my work imagines the future earth as a scarred, damaged and fragile landscape – a landscape that mirrors both my concerns about my own past and the planet’s uncertain future. Actions of Consequence was inspired by my father, a writer and staunch environmentalist, the author of a science fiction natural history novel in which nearly all humans lived on other planets, letting Earth turn into a wildlife reserve, his words provided the seed for Actions of Consequence. His idea of Earth without humans is Utopia. However, I found my imagined Earth without humans to be quite different. My way of expressing these concerns is to photograph and create landscapes that are void of life!

Please note: The numeric title is the galactic longitude and latitude of Earth, the distance from Earth to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in light years (placing Earth in the sky), and the age of Earth now plus two hundred years. These coordinates are a clue that the landscapes I’m presenting could be Earth in two-hundred years if humans don’t stop stripping their home bare and consuming it to death. I believe human nature has inherent destructive tendencies, so I don’t believe our species will stop our inevitable extinction. But what I have learned is that self-destruction can be turned around, and this transformation can produce beautiful results. I think the most shocking dystopian realization is when the whole idea of the arbitrariness of human arrangements comes over you, with the realization that the future is contingent on the present, and can be affected by something you do or don’t do now.