Author Topic: Fairy Tales - 'Crude World'  (Read 790 times)

2019-04-09, 19:59:25

plusvisual

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FAIRY TALES - 'CRUDE WORLD'

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This project is completed in collaboration with Leckie Studio Architecture + Design.

We were very excited to learn that our submission to the 2019 Blankspace Fairy Tales competition received an honorable mention! Please have a look at the website to see the other amazing submissions, some really really stellar work in there and a true honour to be featured among such talented artists, designers, and story-tellers.

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Quote
12 years have passed since the catastrophic events on earth. There has been no communication from the planet during this time, and we have had to proceed on the basis that our small human colony on Mars as well as that on the international space station are the only surviving human outposts. The majority of our earth-orbiting satellites are dead. Those that are still functioning have shifted orbit and/or are unable to sync with our instrumentation.

We have not been able to ascertain whether human life – or any animal life, for that matter – persists on the planet. Our last recorded transmission from earth is dated 09 July 2186 – reporting a global state of emergency due to catastrophic climate and seismic events which were ravaging the planet. Global storm systems, combined with the shifting of tectonic plates led to large scale terrestrial flooding and continental shift, reducing the terrestrial land mass by approximately 40 percent.

Last month our instruments detected a small beacon of light on the earth’s surface, floating in the ocean. A three-person reconnaissance expedition was sent to earth from the international space station to investigate the beacon. This was a one-way mission. We are hopeful that the beacon is an indication that habitation on earth is still possible. Their mission was to report on the status of human civilization and the planetary ecosystem. We salute these astronauts for their bravery in returning to our native planet.

We received a transmission from the mission team earlier this morning. They reported that an empty vessel – a life raft of sorts – was found floating at the edge of the bituminous ocean. It was determined to be the source of the beacon. There were no personnel aboard, however, a Captain’s Log was found alongside a large scale mapping project – etched into the walls of the vessel, not unlike a prehistoric type of cave painting. The attached document transcribes the last entry in the Captain’s Log – dated approximately two months ago. The team also sent the five (5) attached images, documenting the beacon and surface condition of the planet.

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Captain’s Log / SS Minnow / 2198.09.07

Henry Thompson, Ecological Anthropologist

I write this last journal entry with the hope that it will serve as a surviving record of human civilization on planet earth. I have been navigating the planet alone for approximately 12 years, mapping this new geography as I search for other survivors of the planetary apocalypse. I have yet to encounter any other human survivors, and seldom have I noticed any other living organisms. The planet has become desolate. I am unsure whether there are survivors in space, but as far as I know I am alone on this world. As an Ecological Anthropologist I feel a professional obligation to provide an anthropological record of the decline of human occupation of this planet. I can only hope that someone or something will find this documentation of the fall of the last human civilization – the Nacirema people. 

Of the numerous empires that occupied the earth over the ten millennia of human civilization, it was the last empire – the Nacirema civilization – that was arguably the most catastrophically successful. Successful in terms of the immense prosperity that was built from the culture of Muelortep (or ‘rock oil’, as it was commonly known), and ultimately catastrophic for the planet-wide devastation that ensued from their ritual obsession with the black liquid.

This text builds on published anthropological research by Linton (1936), Malinowksi (1948), Murdock (1949), and Miner (1956). Most significant to this discussion is Miner’s landmark report Body Ritual among the Nacirema, which offered an early cultural critique of the Nacirema people and their proclivity towards deeply-rooted beliefs in magic and superstition.

Miner’s observations of the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema document a range of unusual behavioural aspects, which serve as examples of the extremes of human behaviour that result from mythological beliefs. Documentation of the decline of human civilization must start with the cultural mythology of the Nacirema people, specifically the obsession with rock oil which ultimately led them to extinction, along with the rest of the planetary species.

One cannot describe the Nacirema civilization without first describing their relationship to Muelortep. The entire civilization was founded on this black oil. It was a mythical multi-purpose substance. For the Nacirema people it represented freedom, and this they prized above all else. It powered their vehicles. It heated their homes and workplaces. They used it to cook. They used it for light. And the more of it they had, the more they needed. It wasn’t enough simply to extract it form the earth, it also had to be stockpiled and circulated. In fact, it became so fundamental to all aspect of human civilization that the Nacirema people rose to become the ruling super-elite of the planet.

For over two centuries wars were fought for control over the black liquid. The Nacirema were so busy fighting and controlling this resource that they didn’t notice what was happening to their planet. When the global scientific community reached a consensus regarding the severity of the damage that the ‘Muelortep Economy’ was having on the global ecosystem, the leaders of the Nacirema refused to acknowledge the research – perhaps it was blindness, obsession, or pure economic self-interest. The Nacirema’s pursuit of rock oil at all costs, despite it’s undeniable culture of harm and corruption is perhaps the strongest indicator of the ingrained belief in magic and denial of reason that led to the downfall of the Nacirema culture.

It started slowly at first, and there was little attention paid to it. By the time the crisis was openly acknowledged it was already too late. All the extraction and burning of the black liquid had started a chain reaction that was unstoppable. Even if they had tried to stop – which they really didn’t – it wouldn’t have mattered. By the year 2170 things were too far gone. The burning of rock oil fuels had created a build up of enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. As these gases built up in the atmosphere a whole series of related phenomenon occurred. First, the mean temperature of the planet rose by just a few degrees. This caused the polar ice caps to melt. As they melted, ocean levels rose and the planet flooded. With the floods, the weather patterns changed and became more extreme. Hurricanes ravaged the planet. Ironically, it was these extreme weather systems that destroyed all the infrastructure they had built for the flow of Muelortep. And as this infrastructure was destroyed, the black liquid spewed forth across the surface of the planet – poisoning the oceans, lakes, and rivers, particularly in many of the most populated areas. Ironically, the rock oil was toxic. It supported no life. Everything it touched died. The environmental failure was systemic and the planet became inhospitable, continually ravaged by violent storms, which only served to worsen the spread of toxins across the planet.

The Nacirema misunderstood the life of their world and their place in it. They had denied that their world was actually an organism, of which they were just a very small part. In thinking that they were separate from the planet they were blind to the fact that their exploitation of the planet was in fact self-defeating. Their blindness to the reality of the oneness of everything in their world that they continued these practices. In the end, the Nacirema became slaves to the black fluid. They suffered from a scarcity mentality that led them to battle for subterranean resources while a plethora of renewable energy sources were abundant at the planet’s surface: sun, wind and water. In the end it was the obsession with surfacing the rivers of Hades turned the entire planet into a type of Underworld, as the Nacirema alongside all other human tribes witnessed the catastrophic failure of the planetary ecosystem.


2019-04-11, 23:03:08
Reply #1

Nekrobul

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Great work, i wounder why it is not so noticed by comunity.
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2019-04-12, 18:03:32
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plusvisual

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Great work, i wounder why it is not so noticed by comunity.

Thank you so much! These forums are definitely a tough crowd... haha! There's a ton of stellar work that doesn't get the recognition is deserves here - the bar is set SO high. It's a good thing that it's a high bar though, always gives us something to keep aiming for and constantly growing :)

2019-04-13, 12:10:41
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Adam

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Awesome work! It's refreshing to see something quite different :)

2019-04-15, 18:13:02
Reply #4

Juraj Talcik

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Really interesting and fun stuff, I love reading stories accompanying visuals (can suggest everyone Simon Stalenhags books...everyone knows his illustrations but the books have stories alongside).

Regarding attention...this simply isn't busy forum (is there even any? forums are pretty dead medium). No need keep finding reasons.
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