Monday, January 15, 2007
I'm in total agreement with Serena Fenton's latest posting here . I do love the bird images we are seeing everywhere, but they are becoming too conventional. I know a trend is dead when I go to the mall and see birds and leaves printed on T-shirts at Suzy Shier.
But it is also interesting to consider why a particular image resonates with the times. Birds traditionally symbolize spirit, a link between heaven and earth, and our desire to break free of earthly concerns. Looking around me, I often despair of the pointless consumerism that abounds, and wonder if it is possible to change our way of living in time to save the planet.
One way of reading the proliferation of bird and nature images in pop culture is that it reflects our desire to be more in tune with nature. The cynical side of me says that owning a t-shirt with a bird and some pretty flowers printed on it is just more thoughtless consumption, and isn't likely to change anything. Or that we have lost our connection to nature and are left with mere signifiers. But I prefer to remain hopeful - I do believe that people care about the environment, they just are overwhelmed and don't know where to start. All that endless shopping is sheer denial.
And on that bleak but hopeful note I have two recommendations: George Monbiot's "Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning" and the film "Children of Men", in theatres now. Both are passionate and truthful and despairing and hopeful.