Zachary A. Edison The Human Ignition

The Human Ignition has three different meanings. The first being that the pieces in this exhibition represent the beginnings, or start, of this body of work. Over the course of seven years, the concepts of these works have shifted from the dangers of technological advancement to individuals attempting to maintain the qualities making up his or her specific persona. Works in the exhibition are intended not to be in order chronologically as the shift in narratives tie into one another. 

The Human Ignition’s second meaning is a play on the term “The Human Condition.” This term describes the way in which humans deal with the biological events each person will inevitably face such as aging and mortality. Through psychology, this study poses that each person will at some point ask themselves the meaning of life, the purpose of their existence, and what happens after their life ends. It’s the answers to these questions which set us apart from one another or guide us to groups with similar outlooks. 

The Human Ignition’s final meaning relates to the overarching narrative of the entire exhibition through its conceptual shifts. Works such as What Were You Thinking?! and Pushing All the Right Buttons discuss the dangers of technological advancement and hubris in modern society’s quest for comfort and longevity. The metaphor of the machine takes a turn in The Obstruction that is Corruption and the larger triptych as the majority searching for comfort is hyperbolized into a modern mechanism comprised of several different parts focused on the same goal. The Underworld Ain’t Nothing to an Underdog and Choking on Guttural Regrets are another shift this time focusing on the individual’s reaction to the “machine’s” attempted assimilation of the subject into the group. Latter pieces such as Hate’s Caress is a Sweeter Comfort than Any Other and With All I have Left, Until My Last Breath represent the figures’ pushback against their respective machines. These figures are more stylized and aggressive than the rest to reference a sort of “ignition” within the subject as he or she resolves to maintain their identity and sense of self against a domineering majority. 

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