08_Cliff SimmonsPARTa-EditNo3

Cliff Simmons   next        Spring 2011 index     156A
Assignment 1  Getty

We Will Make it Look Like Vesuvius Did It

The 19th Century Danish artist, Christen Kobke, painted The Forum, Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the Distance, which depicts exactly what the title suggests.  Pompeii is a historical Roman city that has been ruined by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a nearby volcano that can be seen in the background of the painting.  What remains of The Forum are only things that have survived the volcano's magma and the elements of time. In my three-dimensional response to the painting, I aimed to comically obscure the history behind Pompeii's demise by suggesting that extra terrestrials intentionally destroyed Pompeii. If such extra terrestrials did exist, and were indeed far ahead of humans intellectually, then who is to say that it is impossible for such beings to destroy something in such a way that we, and our contemporary technologies, would be fooled into blaming a volcano?