Lithograph and monoprint. 12x18" (image area)
details (from 800dpi scan for awesomeness):[link][link]
Artist statement attached for class:
What does it mean to be human? At what point did our ancestors decide we were humans and not Neanderthals? Of course when this transition occurred no one really cared about labels or any sort of scientific classificationScience hadnt even been invented. You can bet, however, that these first humans knew for sure that there was a lesser species among them, related to them. At that point in time, the world was still survival of the fittest and so nothing was done to prevent the eventual extinction of our Neanderthal ancestors.
Today were on the brink of a new stage of human evolution. This time, we will be the engineers and we will decide how and when we are going to change. Over the last couple of years I have been reading the works of futurists and trans and post-humanists and have reached the conclusion that as soon as the end of this century we will essentially be able to decide how long we wish to live. No doubt about it, when this medical technology becomes available to the public, in whatever form, anyone and everyone who can afford it will jump on board. Longer life is far from the only enhancement we can expect in our next upgrade. The people of the 22nd Century will not only live longer; they will be smarter, wittier, stronger, and more attractive. They will have memory capacity we can only dream of and many other abilities we cant even imagine right now. These new people, the Enhancedwill they be called human?
Along the same line of thought, will those who choose (or are forced by geographic or economic issues) to remain unenhanced still be considered human? Which group will keep the title? This issue is raised often by author Joel Garreau in his book, Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our BodiesAnd What It Means to Be Human. Some of the philosophers and scientists he interviews suggest that Humanity is more of a progressive state, and that when the majority of our species decides to evolve, it is those that will keep the title. What is left will be the Naturals or Unenhanced.
It will be a great point of contention and debate as to how much we owe these underlings. At this point the intellectual gap between the Enhanced and Unenhanced will be not unlike that of todays humans and chimpanzees. They will be able to communicate on an extremely basic level, but the Naturals will be more or less very smart pets.
So will we protect them? Is it our duty? Is it their right? This is the question I am proposing in my final piece. It is a political flyer from the election season 19 elections from now, when there will be a proposition to make a law protecting the rights of the Unenhanced. I designed it to be a throw-back to old-school political posters with big type and detailed borders, but at the same time it is modern with strong, bold lines, simple fonts, and smooth curves and diagonals. Featured in the center is an average person from today. He is not unattractive, but he is no model. He clearly has flaws, visible plainly through his use of glasses. I chose the expression to further emphasize his Unenhanced state. The pose and lighting are supposed to make him look heroic or majestic, like the animals on conservation posters.
The lithographic process was well suited to my image for its ability to reproduce the wide tonal range of a photo, and also its ease of registering multiple plates onto a single image. I put down a monoprint first, using a stencil and direct painting on plexiglass to tint his glasses yellow and draw attention to his face. The subsequent blue and red layers were added using pronto plates printed on the plate-litho press.
I feel that having just ended one of the most exhausting and historical political seasons in history, it was relevant to make this a political image, and use a roughly patriotic color scheme.
As a final project, I am very happy with how far I have come. It is not unlike the evolution I described earlier. I have definitely progressed beyond the state I was in when I started the class, and I would look down on myself (ability-wise) if I were to go back in time. I know thats cheesy, but I had to find a way to contextualize this whole thing.