Civilization and It’s Ruin is a 12-piece collection of art objects and/or artifacts that connects stories of civilization, and its consequences, from The Epic of Gilgamesh, Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, and The Sons. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is a pristine and happy man-animal who has a long barley-like hair and runs with the gazelles. However, Gilgamesh has Enkidu lured into his kingdom where Enkidu defiles his own body and eventually is lead to his death. Similar to The Epic of Gilgamesh, Koyaanisqatsi gives an implied message that human beings have taken a world that was once clean and pure and have turned it into a polluted and overly populated planet. Both of these pieces we explored in class show that if you take something original and pure, and civilize it, you will destroy it. This is exemplified by Enkidu’s death and Koyaanisqatsi’s images of mass destruction of the earth and drivers of global warming.
Opposite of Koyaanisqatsi and The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Sons tells a story about the metamorphosis of a civilized man into an animalistic insect. Gregor’s transition from a money-driven salesman to an uncorrupted and unselfconscious insect is going against the overwhelming trends of civilization on Earth. However, the end result is no different between the stories as Gregor dies, as well. This shows how we cannot avoid or fight civilization, as Freud says we try to, without a large amount of suffering.