“Our time is marked by a mass extinction, diminishing resources, global pandemic, and climate change,” interdisciplinary artist Sam Heydt warns. “Yet for decades the West has proven successful in keeping the repercussions of their actions out of sight, out of mind.” And then: “But there is a limit to everything.”
Heydt bases her latest collection of paper assemblages, 100 Seconds to Midnight, on the Doomsday Clock, which metaphorically counts the time until the end of the world. Since its creation in 1947 with the advent of nuclear weapons, the Doomsday Clock has vacillated from 17 minutes to as little as 100 seconds in 2020, a terrifying milestone made possible by climate change. By “combining images of destruction with portrayals of the virtues born from the American Dream,” Heydt brings attention to the “ecological and existential nightmare” we’re all responsible for.
Heydt isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into the multifaceted issues that push us within touching distance of our own doom—such as the rapid rate of globalization. In no uncertain terms she links the devastating pandemic and corporate domination of the environment to vast inequalities in America and the Global South. “The vices of the first world are the burden of the third,” Heydt explains.
While we are undoubtedly in a pickle, Heydt recognizes the opportunity to turn back the clock in post-pandemic society. “The urgency to pause and re-examine the parameters of ‘normality’ is more important now than ever. The undiscovered post-pandemic has the potential to yield widespread systemic cultural, environmental, economic, social and democratic transformations.”
“The vices of the first world are the burden of the third.” — Sam Heydt
100 Seconds to Midnight
All photos published with permission of the artist.
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