Christopher Rodriguez

2017 - Ongoing

Inspired by early 19th century naturalist Alexander Humboldt, I am piecing together a fictional world of landscape artifacts (rocks, flora, etc) and images of ‘Humboldt’ like characters who measure earth’s phenomena, looking for evidence of the Afterlife.

The title ‘Afterlife’ refers to themes of life and death rooted in my anxiety of threatened ecosystems. Humboldt discovered the idea of an ecosystem, and he radically suggested humans could upset the delicate balance of nature. The world today is very different from the one he documented as virtually every corner of the earth has been seen or altered by human use. It is suggested we are within a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, defined by radioactive particles scattered across the earth by nuclear tests, burning of fossil fuels, plastic pollution, etc. As the earth becomes increasingly void of unspoiled natural environments, our idea of nature is becoming lost.

Afterlife is an attempt to re-discover our affected landscape as Humboldt must have felt as he saw strange new species and places. It is also a way of visualizing landscapes of the future by thinking about how someone from the past would look at the landscape now. My fiction melds Humboldt’s vision with my own, and the current world with a future one. Humboldt came to know nature mainly through acts of observation, whereas my vision is built on interventions with a camera and artificial lighting.

Color is a formal organizing principle, but more importantly it serves to give weight to themes of life and death. Exaggerating color helps suggest Landscapes in a new world and time, blanketed in a fresh nuclear glow.

Humboldt suggested that nature is like a tapestry that could be undone with the pull of a thread. The thread has been pulled. Afterlife is a series that considers how to represent these realities as nature becomes increasingly more synthetic than pristine.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Crystal Peak:
    Measuring Quartz Transparency/Human activity has left a permanent layer of particulates in geological sediment.

  • Red Moonlight #1:
    Red Moonlight #1/Signs of the Afterlife reveal themselves in red wavelengths of light.

  • Trusty Bonpland Measuring Wind Cave Phenomena

  • On-Off/1's and 0's/ Device Failure/Not everything goes as planned.

  • Cryogenic Success/There is hope after all.

  • Boxwood #1/These boxwood species consume less water.

  • Summer Flowers/Radioactive decay can be beautiful.

  • Afterlife Testing #1/Metamorphosis

  • Afterlife Testing #2/Metamorphosis

  • Amazonas Sunset/The afterlife is visible.

  • Mating Butterflies #2/Radioactive specimens.

  • Glowing Ice #2/Measuring particulate evidence.

  • Golden Spike in Green and Yellow/A golden spike is a layer of sedimentary rock that marks the beginning of a new geological epoch.

  • Rock and Paint/Textures and evidence of participation

  • Purple Dust/Everything is covered in white sediment that may cause respiratory issues.