YBCA presents the West Coast debut of WE ARE THE ASTEROID III by New York–based artist Justin Brice Guariglia. The third iteration of a conceptual, text-based public artwork, Guariglia’s solar-powered LED highway message board—like one you might find at roadside—alerts viewers to slow down and beware of the dangers ahead. The repurposed machine features what the artist calls “eco-haikus” that arose from a collaboration with the philosopher Timothy Morton, including “WE ARE THE ASTEROID,” “TRIASSIC WEATHER AHEAD,” and “WARNING: HURRICANE HUMAN.” Through poetry, metaphor, and humor, the work endeavors to draw audiences into lively discussions about the climate crisis.
WE ARE THE ASTEROID III cycles through a series of nine “eco-haikus.” Morton’s metaphysical language around ecological concerns delivered in the form of the everyday traffic sign challenges our notions of what is out of place in our day-to-day environment, juxtaposing the banal with a state of emergency of global proportions.
Eco-haikus featured on the message board:
WE ARE THE ASTEROID
WARNING: HURRICANE HUMAN
TRIASSIC WEATHER AHEAD
GLOBAL WARMING AT WORK
GOODBYE ARCTIC ICE
THERE IS NO AWAY
NEANDERTHALS ‘R’ US
FOR SYMBIOSIS: REDUCE SPEED NOW