10 Billion

London & River Plate Bank Building - Recife, Brazil (2105)

Recife, Brasil

 

Site specific installation – Plants, metal structures, building rubble and  neons.


The installation occupied a historic building in downtown Recife. It was built in the 19th century, originally to be the London & River Plate Bank premises. The construction refers to a post-apocalyptic era where plants overpower buildings and remainders of civilization.

 

The conception of “10 Billion” emerges through reflections of Stephen Emmott’s homonym book, which speaks in length about demographical explosions and their apocalyptic consequences, and opens discussions by Estonian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, during Occupy Wall Street, 2011.

 

“Think about the strangeness of today’s situation. Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating about what the future would be: Communist, Fascist, Capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept that global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on Earth disintegrating because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the Earth, and so on. So the paradox is that it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on Earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism” Slavoj Žižek

 

The main hall of the building was filled with trees of different species, and giant bromeliads, as well as construction debris, metal structures, and a series of six neon panels of approximately 79x98 inches each, showing icons related to themes broached in the discussion.

 

The neon panels awakened dialogue, for they are a symbol of the American dream, with  the façades and luminous store signs in an environment where there was neither electricity, nor consumers,  or even products to commercialize. They draw an anachronistic parallel, which emphasizes the problematic irony raised by Emmott and Žižek.

 

At the end of the installation, the set of plants was donated to the Recife Botanical Garden.

 

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