Most films which depict the world after an apocalyptic battle or disaster look something like the scenes of a Mad Max flick – the Australian outback or the Nevada high desert. In other words, something appropriately bone-dry, fitting of a scorched wasteland created by nuclear war or an exploding volcano. Not so the digital artworks of Nick Pedersen. His images appear downright tranquil, flipping the whole notion of apocalypse on its head and creating an image of the potential future that makes the catalyst for the apocalypse looks something a lot like western civilization.[see_also]
Pedersen has created his body of work from a place, as he puts it, “deeply rooted in a very environmental/political mindset.” Through his labor intensive, densely vegetated pieces, he aims to show his concern for a future effected by mankind’s creations and their impact. As tribal peoples hunt in the once urban environment, modern structures become intertwined with a vibrant nature set on quickly retaking its place at center stage. (continued below)
His images aren’t too far off from the picture painted in the fascinating book The World Without Us, in which author Alan Weisman entertainingly and exhaustively paints a picture of a world in which humans, in one day, mysteriously vanish. How does the world fare without its current master species? Do our greatest monuments remain intact for ages to come? As Weisman points out, the material legacy of our current reign would be surprisingly short lived.
Take for example the case of Chernobyl, a place which almost exactly follows Weisman’s hypothetical idea. After the infamous nuclear meltdown in 1986 followed the mass exodus of the area’s main city, Pripyat – once a standout of modern Soviet architecture and planning. Soon the place became a home only to wild animals and vegetation, where, in the subsequent two and a half decades that followed, the new inhabitants surprisingly thrived. Saplings, now large trees, pushed their way through the solid pavement of the streets, animals found homes in the quickly decaying buildings – by many accounts, the place is a veritable paradise for its happy flora and fauna.
How long would it take to return to Pedersen’s vision of the future after we stop “maintaining” the place and start letting nature do its work? The answer seems to be: not very long. See more of his thought provoking images at nick-pedersen.com.