We are in the anthroposcene age, painfully aware of our own mortality as a species. We decry the destruction of the planet and mourn the loss of that which we hold dear, but perhaps we simply need to accept it is inevitable that our time is limited. Perhaps after we are gone, through the vast processes of geological time, sentient life will re-emerge.
Tozer slowly crushes folded paper ‘fortune tellers’ in an endless meditative loop. Cootie catchers, chatterboxes, whirlybirds or paku-paku; these paper objects are used by children; they are manipulated along their folds, and predict the future based on decisions made by one seeking good fortune.
Throughout human history, fortune telling has served to ease the anxiety of an uncertain future.
Increasingly we share an ever-present state of anxiety. Subconsciously or otherwise we all move through time aware of our own fragility and demise both as individuals and as a species.
We pick through the ruins of past civilisations for lost meaning and method. We deny our hubris and myopia, placing unconditional faith in our technology. Our dominion over the earth is undeniable, we construct monuments to our greatness. What great civilisation could possibly have felt or behaved otherwise? Where are they now?
Tozer’s self destructing geometric paper structures talk to the ephemeral nature of all human construction. The child places faith in a paper object and constructs a hopeful and naive vision of the future; as humanity has, for so long, assumed its continued good fortune and permanence on earth.
Many thousands of years have passed; all history is forgotten. From this tabula rasa new life emerges; new sentient beings are in the ascendant. What will they know of us? What we have left behind?
It is 2018, there is a deep hole, many kilometres underground. They are drilling straight into the earth. Construction workers toil day and night digging digging digging. The hole is cold and the air is toxic thin. It is dangerous for the workers. Scientists watch the hole from above and make predictions, discuss the approach, look for solutions. Will it really work? For how long? The hole will hide our most terrible secret. Our waste, our dirty shame. Our abomination.
How can we attempt to tell our story across this vast expanse of time? Perhaps what is needed is not a eulogy but a warning. A warning to protect future civilisations from our sins. What language, symbol, or glyph will ensure that it is heeded? How do we confess our secrets and mistakes to a child we do not know and will never meet?
The gentle, calming nature of Tozer’s work establishes a contrast with the danger and severity of social and environment realities today. She brings attention to the arbitrary nature of the symbol and by doing so, she highlights some of the deepest possibilities and consequences of human construction and destruction.