Swan Song: Contemplations of Ecological Grace and Power - Daniel Ambrosi

SWAN SONG

Preliminary Proof of Concept Video:


Swan Song is a vision for an immersive exhibition centered around the theme of climate change and ways in which our Dreamscapes can be employed to address ecological grief. We believe that the visual/visceral/cognitive power of these giant hyperrealistic/surrealistic landscape images combined with compelling music, sound effects, and motion graphics in an immersive setting (similar to those found at venues like L’Atelier des Lumières in France and Artechouse in the U.S.) can serve as a counterpoint to the anxiety and sense of loss (solastalgia) that many of us are beginning to experience around climate change.

In my recent travels, especially in the western United States, I've witnessed alarming amounts of forest loss due to wildfire and tree diseases exacerbated by global warming. It is quite disconcerting to revisit idyllic scenery I've photographed less than a decade ago only to find them greatly diminished or even completely destroyed. This has heightened my own sense of urgency to capture and convey the grace and power of special places in our world.

It is an unfolding tragedy of epic proportions that so little is being done to curtail the human causes accelerating climate change, even in the face of overwhelming evidence and clearly visible impacts. Swan Song is meant to address this existential threat in a sobering yet positive way; to offer a respite from images of environmental destruction and instead immerse viewers in the heartbreaking beauty of special places in our world. In this way, we hope to encourage our participants to contemplate what is at risk of being lost and, in doing so, inspire them to redirect their grief and anxiety toward involvement and action.

NOTES:

* The Swan Song immersive experience is intended to be ~30 minutes in duration and cover 12-15 ultra-high-resolution scenic artworks (see proposed sequence of Dreamscapes below).

* The proposed scenes were deliberately selected to represent a variety of human-friendly ecosystems; not just purely natural landscapes, but also cultivated lands and even cityscapes. After all, viability of the human race is what is truly at risk here; the earth will survive/adapt to climate change just fine with or without us. This project does not sing the earth's swan song; rather it will be humanity's swan song if we don't soon change our ways.

* The transitions between scenes shown in this proof of concept video represent metaphorical "disintegrations" of each scene that are informed by ways in which such locales could be impacted by climate disasters (e.g., fire, floods, drought, dessication, wind storms, etc.). The examples shown in the above video are placeholders for more sophisticated visual effects to be designed/executed by professional motion graphics artists.

* The final light house scene shown in this video is meant to be a beacon of hope, to end this immersive experience on a positive note. In this scene, the coastside is still intact, a woman is reading a book on a bench at the base of the light house, and a trio of photographers are working to capture an idyllic summer solstice sunset.

* With the Swan Song immersive experience, we hope to attract the endorsement of one or more environmental organizations (e.g., sunrisemovement.org, conservation.org, climateemergencyfund.org, sierraclub.org, etc.) with the intention that when the attendees exit the experience, they are provided the opportunity to donate, volunteer, or purchase items that support the crucial work of these organizations.


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