Kingston prepares for apocalypse

Union Gallery

Artist Mike Marcon crafts eerie post-apocalyptic cabin

On June 25th, Windsor artist Mike Marcon launched his art exhibition TEOTWAYKI – meaning “The End of the World as You Know It”
On June 25th, Windsor artist Mike Marcon launched his art exhibition TEOTWAYKI – meaning “The End of the World as You Know It”
Credit: 
Supplied by Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre

Between nukes, climate change and super bugs, I’d take the TEOTWAYKI — a small cabin that doubles as artist Mike Macron’s  latest post-apocalyptic artexhibit – for protection.

On June 25th, artist Mike Marcon launched his art exhibition TEOTWAYKI – meaning “The End of the World as You Know It” – at the Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre. Transforming part of the centre’s interior into an apocalypse shelter, Marcon’s exhibit introduces a gritty, startlingly realistic vision of the future.

The TEOTWAYKI exhibition consists of a run-down one-person cabin that is decorated with an austere sense of style and sits in the right hand corner of the gallery. Adjacent to the cabin, seven black and white sketches adorn the walls containing key words and imagery often found on social media posts about surviving an apocalypse. Together they created an unsettling atmosphere that filled me with questions about Marcon’s underlying message: there is no utopia waiting for us; the future will be a competition for survival.

The juxtaposition of the orange, green and blue tarps draped over the roof and the dark and damp wooden exterior of the cabin was off-putting, creating an obscure yet welcoming atmosphere. Although hauntingly eerie, the warm, dim lighting draws you inside to reveal a display of how a survivalist would live if almost any recent apocalypse blockbuster became a reality.

The cluttered and cramped interior puts you on edge as each floor board creaks from your body weight. The continuous white noise of a radio and two small televisions enhances the feeling of paranoia and the looming thoughts of death.

Amongst old books, dirty dishes and a pistol with its magazine resting on an oily rag, tons of cigarette packages neatly stacked are realistically placed around the cabin to convince the viewer this isn’t simply art — it’s the future.

The sketches on the wall visualize a range of potential survival tools while listing ways the TEOTWAYKI shelteracts as protection fromworld-ending events.

These events, namely incidents of natural disaster can lead to dire circumstances — something Marcon tries to express in this exhibit. He forces its viewers to question the possibility of a future where lives are negotiable in the struggle of survival. This future presents the possibility of a simpler existence in which the only thing that matters is surviving, even if at the expense of someone else’s life.

Macron’s work made me question why these narratives are so appealing in today’smedia culture.

Maybe it’s the feeling of being strong and brave from having killed something or someone for the sake of surviving. Maybe you simply love the idea of eating baked beans and living alone out in the woods.

While pop culture offers a non-stop supply of apocalyptic movies, books and televisionseries, Macron asks us toactually envision ourselves in a world-ending scenario.

He creates a realistic snapshot of what life would be like ifit were constantly under threat and the result is far morechilling than anything on The Walking Dead.

Corrections

In the original article, Mike Marcon was identified as a local Kingston artist. It has since been updated to show that he is based in Windsor, Ontario. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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