THE LAST HUMAN MOTHER AND BABY
Virtual Reality animation and digital print
Under the cover of the dense jungle vegetation a mother watches over her infant son. A panther stands by awaiting the moment when it can throw Itself on them, while birds of prey are watching from the lush trees. In the background the sun goes down.
The artwork of Julia Beliaeva consist of two pieces – a digital print and virtual world, which can be entered by using virtual reality gear. In this way the viewer is invited into the picture to explore a dystopian scenario where only the savage self-reproducing nature and helpless people survive, including the last mother and her baby left alone in jungle.
In our world where humanity has reached the climax of its evolution in its ability of self-destruction the intimate scene is a visualization of what will happen if someone powerful resorts to this opportunity. Beliaeva imagines what will remain of humankind if reason loses the battle to primeval aggression, questioning man’s idea of eternity in today’s globalized but fragile world. The history will go back to its starting point and only the instincts will remain.
The use of virtual reality glasses brings the viewer back to the golden age of the primeval times. It is the way it was seen by “naive” painter Henri Rousseau, whose painting The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope (1905) is reinterpreted in the animated jungle scene. Beliaeva has replaced the hungry lion and its prey with herself and her son^ with raises doubts about the mother’s intentions: Is she licking her baby in an act of care or is the gesture a deadly warning? Is she taking or losing control of her instinctive acts in survival situation?
Manipulating contemporary technologies, the artist bring together two worlds: the technocratic one and the instinctive, blissful and primordial one. One of them embodies the diversity of life, the other brings open danger. Operating with a two-dimensional digital space, Beliaeva seeks to encapsulate the idea of a primitive reality where the pure instincts have taken over.
Through the technique of digital animation a smooth plastic expression is achieved, blurring the distinction between what is artificial and what is natural. Inside the man-made universe of the artwork every tree leaf and blade of grass stays clean and shiny, creating an illusion of an everlasting world. But this is no promise of enteral life on an indestructible planet. It is rather the harsh realities of the ecological and social tragedies of the world with the last woman at its centre of a new beginning.