Mary Mattinglyâ€™s computer-enhanced photography and videos portrait a world she believes the human race will one day inhabit. After the fall of post-industrial civilization, humans will transform into comfortably numb spiritually nomads (the “navigators”), they will wear their high-tech home on their backs and be mentally and materially equipped to survive in a landscape reconfigured by the rising tides and unstable weather patterns.
People will live an inward life, clinging to their gadgets as they wander around the barren landscape. For example, they will carry a G-Simpod, a handheld device that acts as a “God substitute,â€? providing graphics and sounds (it’s basically a music/video player) but it also enable the user to avoid any human interaction by â€œtransforming the intangible into the tangible.â€? One emergency button on this device makes the user feel warm and fuzzy in his/her brain, heart and erogenous zones. This key is meant when the nomad is in mall-space, filling him or her with a sense of happiness and self-worth that derails his or her thoughts to enter into buying-mode. A second emergency key satisfies all of the userâ€™s cravings, such as hunger, by stimulating the brain or hypothalamus with electrodes.
Mattingly spent a month living in the desert outside of Bend, Oregon experimenting with prototypes that appear in her photographs. â€œI wore a wearable home, equipped with a â€œtoolbelt,â€? a tazer and pack of 9V batteries, solar-recording equipment from sponsor companies like Spy Emporium, pockets for a monthâ€™s worth of vitamins and other compact food sources, compass, diary, analog camera, and a prototype Blackberry that would pick up signals as far as 50 mi. out of range.â€?
Stills from A New Breed
Several of her images make us reflect upon the role that corporations have taken into our lives. One of them shows plastic dates, bananas, pineapples, and apples hanging from the tree. All of them are branded, Banana Republic, Lexus, NestlÃ©, etc. Considering that corporations are currently copyrighting parts of our genetic code this doesnâ€™t seem so far fetched (artcritical.)