September 26, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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From Dune Reader to Denise Villeneuve

Sunflowers By Van Gogh. spring By Botticelli. millstones of Monet. The girl with the pearl By Vermeer. True, Mona Lisa. For several weeks, these popular canvases sell out wall art Reproducing them, they are the target in various museums of environmental activists who throw mashed potatoes, soup or cream on them to denounce our inaction in the face of global warming. They took care, each time, to select canvases that were protected so they would not be damaged. This resulted in a two-month prison sentence for activists who attacked Vermeer’s artwork.

Posted at 7:15 am

This is not the first time museums have seen this type of action. Wanting to draw Mona Lisa’s mustache is part of art history. For a long time, artists were the authors of most expressions within the framework of the museum space. If these paintings had already been saved, their fame would have inspired action long before today’s environmental activists.

The response to these provocative gestures is matched. From incomprehension to outrage, through applause, we hear these activists “hurting their own cause,” a popular tune soon after activists raise concerns, when we don’t say in a serious tone that they are the environmental extremists they represent. The barbarism and lack of culture of our time is heading straight for the collapse of civilization (the West, of course).

I don’t see how you can hurt your cause if the goal is to get people talking about it. For that, it was successful because the brilliance of bands like Extinction Rebellion or Just Stop Oil toured the planet. Candy for The hunters were awakened Or climate deniers.

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However, whatever one thinks of them, they prove something: one is more irritated by a can of soup thrown against the window. The Sunflowers Rather than reading news on the environment. That says it all, I think.

As we experience the effects of global warming, I fear that desperate measures will increase. And there’s no guarantee they won’t become more violent.

Lula’s election in Brazil brought relief to many environmentalists for the Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile, new Twitter boss Elon Musk is sharing some intriguing tidbits about the hammer attack on Nancy Pelosi’s home.


While global warming is an obvious issue for us all to lean into and think about, it has become a debate to ask each other to pick a side on the issue while the house burns down.

We cannot solve the problem of global warming by attacking artifacts, and activists know this. What they want to engender is deep reflection, I believe. Like the philosopher Timothy Morton, the author Environmental thinking, this is definitely one of the articles that has marked my consciousness most in recent years. Moreover, on his Twitter account, the philosopher supported these demonstrations because he believed in the role of art in the environmental struggle.

One of Timothy Morton’s concepts that blew my mind was “hyperobjects”. The creations of human genius of the industrial age have outlived us in their long-term effects. According to Morton, it’s not humanity’s artefacts, but these hyperobjects that most survive. “Interestingly, capitalism creates more solid things than ever before. With global warming, hyperobjects will be our most lasting legacy. Materials ranging from simple polystyrene to the monstrous plutonium will overtake current social and biological forms. We are talking hundreds and thousands of years. In five hundred years, polystyrene objects such as cups will still exist. Ten thousand years ago, Stonehenge did not exist. In ten thousand years, plutonium will still exist. »

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Van Gogh, however, had no idea.

We see nature as a visitor Sunflowers In a museum, like a bucolic landscape, it should be preserved under glass. We watch all this from the outside, thinking we are the audience, yet we don’t realize we are in the picture.

The problem of global warming is happening on such a large scale that there is no escape. We cannot perceive it.

in Environmental thinking, Timothy Morton wrote: “There really is global warming; Indeed there is an environmental emergency; I am not a nihilist; The big picture drives right-wing ideologies, which is why the right fears it so much. Either way, this melting world is frightening. »

I sometimes think that so many people are so detached from reality at this point that they are sensitive, not stupid. They visually experience the environmental danger that awaits us and reject it with all their might, with the means at hand. Denial or militancy is a more dynamic reaction than passivity. I am old enough to plan my retirement, but I wonder if this is possible in 20 years, and this absurd notion must exist among young people who are asked to prepare for their future. For at least 50 years, environmentalists have been warning of what’s happening, and it’s happening faster than expected.

If we react so strongly to actions that don’t really have any consequences other than the collapse of the media (and increased security in museums), perhaps it’s because they remind us of things we don’t want to think about, which is so dizzying. We cannot save the planet, which may continue without humanity for millions of years of eternity despite the small disturbance we cause. We should not prepare to avoid the consequences of global warming because they already exist, the future awaits us and we have no choice but to adapt.

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As clumsy as they are, these activists remind us of the fragility and emptiness of things. And ask us to look at the bigger picture where we are.