Kali Wallner BFA Photography Thesis Spring 2021

The Future of RCP8.5

The Future of RCP8.5, is essentially a creation of a world in which the RCP8.5 pathway has prevailed; depicting an apocalyptic type future where the battle against climate change was lost. The landscape of this world is influenced by the predicted RCP8.5 weather and climate changes; which we have already begun to experience.

This world is set in the years 2030 and 2031, in which I seem to be one of few people that survived this slow decline of civilization. In this future, I feel like I have been stripped of my human-ness for quite some time, only being able to spend all my energy on surviving another day- until recently. Discovering a shutterbug and finding some analog camera equipment, I have begun to slowly shed this gut instinct of strictly staying alive, and I begin creating and documenting once again, while dreaming of a future where we have reconciled our mistakes.

My final product is a short film of a box that I have constructed, which holds my personal documentation of this time period and place. There are two main types of media that I have relied on to tell my story, those being journal entries and photographs; including some found objects as well. The video features another person thumbing through the contents of my box, by using most of this visual space to focus on the printed images held inside; leaving my voice to utilize the audio for reading through my journal entries while the audience sees the corresponding imagery. The imagery included in this box depicts the physical landscape, while the journal entries work in a reflective manner, telling a story of how this earth came to be in this desolate state. I’m working with a lot of anger and sadness, struggling through where to put my blame; but this emotion is guided by scientific evidence, and events that are happening in real time. The pace of the box is spoken like a narrative, as I treat these journal entries as a story. Starting with finding a small inclination to begin creating again and using that inclination to change me throughout this piece. Aside from reflecting on the climate crisis, I’m ready to start considering a future- keeping in mind my fears of people that are potentially still alive, and considering what it means to be human vs. animal. My fear of people is why I found it necessary to include another person finally entering my life again, but leaving that outcome up to the audience at the end of the video.

This idea was constructed out of my own fears. I have familiarized myself with the RCP8.5 which is often referred to as “business as usual” while at the same time, being the worst case scenario in terms of combating climate change. Considering the term “business as usual”, this RCP8.5 future is a very realistic scenario, and I fear for my future as an individual. I am inclined to show this predicted future now, in order to instill a sense of urgency within my audience, and so I’ve let this fear serve as motivation for my project. Although I would appreciate it if these faceless CEO’s of these industrial companies saw this video, my intended audience is rather the next generation who is ready to fight this battle. I’m hoping with this portrayal of predictions that this project will be used as a tool to expose a truth, and fuel a fire within an already angry generation. However I am also always looking to reach a wider audience, and want anyone who is curious about the climate and climate change to feel enticed to watch my video; In a way, convince more people that what is happening now needs to stop, or they will too lose their future as I feel like I have.

Watch on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/541427465

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