World On Fire

By Charlie Schach

Artist’s Statement:

World on Fire is a two part visual art piece finished 10/30/20 and made from the natural materials wood, bamboo, juniper, and water plus paper and adhesive with dimensions 12” by 12” at the widest position. The wood disc acts as the base of the art piece and represents the Earth in 2020 amidst climate change and COVID-19. Surrounding the disc is a burning forest, factory, melting glaciers, hospital and graveyard, and a failing business and hotel. The burning forest represents the current, ever growing wildfires in California which are a result of climate change. Directly next to the effect of climate change is one of its causes, factory pollution. The pollution emitted by factories contributes to the greenhouse effect which leads to global warming. Global warming is causing Earth’s glaciers to melt at an alarming rate which is also depicted next to the factory in the form of ice melting. A hole was burned through the ice and used to attach it to the wood disc. On the Coronavirus side of things, a hospital and graveyard along with failing businesses are shown. The constant increase in COVID related deaths and cases is represented by the graveyard and hospital. A failing small business and hotel are also shown to spread awareness of this global pandemic. The second part of World On Fire represents the future of planet Earth if it continues on its current track. The wood disc looks older and partly scorched with symbols of burned down forests, melted glaciers, and still prominent factories plus shut-down businesses. This second part completes the art piece by connecting the future to the present in an easily comparable perspective to demonstrate the destructibility of climate change and COVID-19.

The piece works as an interconnected system with one thing leading to the other like ecosystems and society. It effectively spreads awareness of climate change and COVID-19 by highlighting the most prominent problems resulting from each of them in one structure, and the long term effects on Earth if the problems are neglected. The name, World On Fire, is derived from the consequences of climate change which I see as a more long term problem although I definitely believe it is important to spread awareness of the effects of COVID-19 as well. World On Fire is also a perishable piece meant to symbolize how the Earth’s lifespan is continually being shortened through humans’ poor treatment of it.

This multimedia piece was a submission to the 2021 Flatten the Curve Competition.

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