FRAGMENTS OF A CATASTROPHE
Exhibition of Artworks by Chantal Meza
The Apocalypse already happened. When exactly was difficult to tell? It wasn’t a singular event. Unlike biblical prophecy, there was no final day of judgement. No horsemen riding into town to avenge the unrighteous and non-believers. The apocalyptic was slain by the gospel of catastrophe. Its truth displaced by the logic of tragedies, which rained down without the possibility of redemption or eternal salvation. Nobody was exempt. Its destructions afforded no distinction. There were no innocents. Everybody was included. All notions of refuge proved an impossible luxury. The casualties were intellectual as well as physical. Hope was lost in the ability to transform the world for the better. The signs were already there. It was in the making for some considerable time. Early warnings appeared through the cracks in sites of abandonment and zones of crises. Violently it marched. Justice as War, so terrifyingly normal! Onwards and downwards, slowly the disasters became endemic. Catastrophic imaginaries colonized all before it. Everything became connected. Everything went South! Everybody learned wretchedness. Vulnerability became the default setting. We became survivors without survival, haunted by the violence of the past, while forced to face the specter of the next catastrophe, always there, in-waiting, on the horizon of possibility. Humanity fatally wounded long before its final generations walked the scorched earth. Anxiety was the only thing collectivized. Enriched lives that once basked in their own delusions of grandeur and progress, forced to live in open burrows of mechanical enslavement, which ultimately proved more effective in producing endless spectacles of violence. A simulacrum of watching defined us, even as we authored our ruination. Fear spread like some uncontrollable virus. It was digitalized. But it was no less real. All that remained, it seemed, was to live-out the unfolding fate, together, alone.
How might we have heeded the warnings of the real witnesses of history? Those whose testimonies and signs may just have push us in a different direction, demanding a different gaze, looking more intently back into ourselves. Those who lived with the disappeared never sought to turn their pain into spectacle. The suffering was too real for all that. Nor did they wish to have our pity. There is no such dignity in that demand. But now even the memory of witnessing is scattered amongst the ashes. We saw too much, blinded by our overexposure to nothing in particular.
Who am I? The last anthropologist left to survey and make sense of these ruins. How we can now look upon every Garden of Eden slowly disappearing as all color slowly bled from the earth. I was once human. Now I see a tragic figure who authored their own pre-existing extinction. So all we have left are these fragments but pieced together they tell the story. It begins with nature. Back to the beginning, again. Beautiful. Poetic. But some, as already told, had already seen this as a savage beauty. And the final act of humanity will be recorded as a moment when it brought about its collective disappearance.
This is not a speculative prophecy. The warning signs are already here. If only we could piece together the fragments of a catastrophe, which is unfolding before our very eyes. Another child mercilessly lost in the waters, another women savagely pulled from the streets, another forest mercilessly burned along with all the forms of life it sustains, another act of abandonment, but a simple piece in a complex and fractured book whose pages are already scattered and overlaid.
Where is my body?
Fragments of Hope
A mixture, of red and black
I disappear. Dark mass
Let the earth be
There in the dust, I exist
I breathe within us
A wrenched life
Sorrows that walk
Covered in red
Muting the voice
Blood within blood
The liquid you pour
The earth absorbs me
A crimson wound, that gives life
Theatre of the Disappeared. Act Five
Fragments of a Catastrophe
Brad Evans & Chantal Meza (2022)