Lyon’s portrayal of an over populated world is beautiful, using the man made to create images of great depth and scale. It could be argued that his ‘painstaking’ work is artificial and exaggerated, being in no way an accurate presentation of the scale of future industrialisation. However, it is his busy, no-room-for-movement scenes that make the project so powerful.
Lyon’s ability to find elegance in factories, planes and shipping boats seems fitting in our society. In a world no longer unspoiled, Lyon has triumphed in reversing the status quo, with natural beauty being spurned for the beauty created by the development of mankind. His intricate, almost eccentric work is delicate, offering us a way out from the oppression of over-population, but this is not without purpose.
Lyon’s message is very clear. He amplifies the harsh reality of overpopulation. This sense of awe inspires us to wonder if we really need to live as a frivolous society, powered by the irreplaceable, leaving future generations to clean up our mess.
The project has split many opinions and it is easy to see why. Lyon has clearly, intelligently and thoroughly researched migration in modern times for the piece. However, to go to the extent of suggesting that it is a prediction for migration is a horrible oversimplification. The cramped images of different locations all stiched together in one congested yet linear mess suggests that Lyon sees current, large-scale globalisation as a pathway to some sort of dystopian future.
The purpose of the claustrophobic images seems obvious to me: to disturb. They represent urbanisation as a horror story, without looking deeper into its benefits. Even if our future is a move further towards mass migration and urbanisation, Lyon still neglects to represent the growing integration and wealth that would also be a side effect of this.And who is to say that this is our future?
A beautiful and interesting study into the topical subject of mass migration it might be but that is the extent of it.