I saw the Ashes and Snow exhibit at the Boardwalk in Santa Monica.
The building is impressive; made out of 152 shipping containers. I used a shipping container back in the late 1970s to make a tea house out in the Candlestick Park parking lot.
The Santa Monica building is designed to give a sense of awe. It does, especially with the dark interior and the 50 foot high soaring canvas ceiling. The awe is designed to create a religious experience about environmentalism.
The whole project appears to be financed by a rich government, like Qatar. The photographs cost over $5 million and the videos probably the same. The artist claims that the absurdly romantic images were all created without technical enhancements. I don’t believe a word of his nonsense. It could have been done with Adobe Photoshop and no one would have known. I’ve never seen landscapes or waterscapes that resemble his, so Photoshop is a perfectly good explanation of why not. There are no indications where the geography is, if it exists.
The animals were chosen to give a romantic image: elephants, whales and large hawk-like birds. No slobbering camels, sharks, vultures or cockroaches.
There were thousands of people crowded in to see the exhibit. The awe and the romantic environmentalism were a farce for me. It was just as religious and pious as Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi movie Triumph of the Will.
Is the Ashes and Snow exhibit as dangerous as similar romanticism was in Nazism?
If other elements in our society conspire to create economic disaster and social disintegration then I nominate this environmental theology as one of the first horrors to watch out for. The fact that the exhibit is at the beach in Santa Monica is appropriate to associate it with Nazism. Santa Monica bans smoking on their vast open beaches. (A future blog will describe Jim Jones and his religion that went crazy.)