Some years back I had the opportunity to discuss SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) with a few of the projects researchers. I became fascinated by the significance of the projects “lack” of signals found.

Based largely on Drake’s famous equation to estimate the number of communicative life forms we should expect to find in our galaxy (based off rate of star formation, distribution of stars & planets, iterative steps to evolve life, etc.), there is a surprisingly positive expectation that we should find signs of intelligent life many times over in our galaxy. Yet we don’t.

Fermi’s Paradox asks simply “where are they”? One of the many hypotheses put forth to answer this question is that intelligent life is relatively short lived. Once a life form evolves to the point of industrialization it quickly destroys it’s own environment and becomes extinct.

A dismal theory but one supported to a large degree by the only data point we have to look at: Earth.

This art installation combines the Greek mythology of Icarus (disaster met through hubris) with a modern day living room of technology and complacency. While Nascar races run on their forever loops around tracks… just outside the window the natural world is coming undone.

If only we cared to look.

Artwork by JeffHessArt on Facebook. This installation is currently on display in the window of Footwise in Corvallis OR.

More info: jeffhessart.com

Wide shot of Icarus and “The Living Room of Complacency”

View from the “throne”

Icarus comes undone

Icarus Realized from the street