Enigma: A Message in the Stars

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Let's stop for a second. Let's think about all the perceived technological, industrial, rational, societal and intellectual advances the human race has experienced over the past 2000 years or so. These advances helped us to mould into being the efficient, well-oiled and connected contemporary societies humans live in today which is good, no? However, according to John Green "with every choice, something is gained and something is lost". What had we lost to make possible all these perceived advancements by humans?

Enigma is a visually communicated project which shows that with the advent of modern society through industrialisation, capitalism and secularisation in some instances, human beings became disconnected from the cosmos. The cosmos refers to the expanse of time and space which surrounds us giving physical substance to existence, found in planets, stars, moons as well as the spaces in between. Prior to modern society humans gazed into the unknown, and lived in unison with nature as a part of a larger system which comprises the entirety of the cosmos. Enigma cites this detachment from the cosmos and the resulting natural world, as the source of the depletion of natural resources which plagues modern societies and cultures. Humans have become pleasure-seeking and presently consume natural resources on an alarming scale, many times for personal gains such as wealth, power and influence.This self-indulgence forms a paradox in the story of the human, as an intelligent species capable of logic and reason the two being corner stones of modern society. 

Sade A. Hylton.   Cosmos   (From Enigma). 2018. Metallic flaked Acrylic and Emulsion paints on Plywood panels.

Sade A. Hylton. Cosmos (From Enigma). 2018. Metallic flaked Acrylic and Emulsion paints on Plywood panels.

This problematic paradox is addressed by Enigma first with the illustrating of who we were as a species, creating great civilisations which were based on cosmologies or notions of self within the universe. The ancient Egyptians believed the Sun-God Amun-Ra was the creator of their civilisation and as such worshipped the sun and created vast edifices such as the Pyramids of Gizeh in honour of that cosmic entity. The same is true for the ancient Chinese who saw timed patterns in the movements of the universe around us, which could be tracked and recorded to design the first compasses and calendars. Civilisations thrived while remaining in sync with nature, until the Renaissance when it became evident that there is a larger cosmos outside of what our naked eyes could perceive. Somewhere in the future we became masters of our own fate through advances in technology, aided by a millennia long observation of the celestial plane. With every action there is an equal and opposite reaction said Sir Issac Newton, and this is where the separation begins.

Sade A. Hylton.   Initiation   (From Enigma). 2018. Clear adhesive print on Acrylic glass.

Sade A. Hylton. Initiation (From Enigma). 2018. Clear adhesive print on Acrylic glass.

Posters printed on glass reveal the extent to which humans had become disconnected, showing our innocence at our initiation identical to that of a star going supernova, awakening to create the substance of new life. We grow older and begin to mutate the planet and ourselves through socialisation, whether it may be working for work's sake, acting out in violence, abusing oneself and others for gratification or destroying the Earth to ensure future generations would not survive. During this period of self-indulgence, the universe continues to form order from chaos, while humans form chaos from order. Eventually we all must die whether as a planet or the human which occupies, but not before we humans annihilate everything around us leaving nothing but decay and misery. The end result is a universe as well as ourselves which have disintegrated into nothing, and nothing can be formed from nothing.

We humans have stopped looking up and depending on the cosmos as a guide in our daily lives and actions. Becoming out of sync with nature spells chaos as everything no matter how big or small must exist in an equilibrium, as everything has a purpose. Equilibrium is necessary in order to ensure the survival of our entire ecosystem, as we humans require the cosmos to exist but it does not need us to continue to flourish and grow. We exist at the mercy of the universe which allows us to live, breathe, reproduce and grow, so it deserves our utmost respect before it is too late. Humans should be aware of their own unknown.

Designer: Sade A. Hylton
Date: 2017 - 2018
Genres: Poster Design, Exhibition Design, Illustration, Sculpture, Light Art, Installation art.
Medium: Acrylic and emulsion paints, acrylic glass, wooden dowels, spray paint etc.

Sade A. Hylton.   Equilibrium     (From Enigma). 2018. Acrylic glass, wooden dowels and industrial adhesive.

Sade A. Hylton. Equilibrium (From Enigma). 2018. Acrylic glass, wooden dowels and industrial adhesive.