Menace | When danger flares, what do you do?
Since humans first experienced the fight or flight reflex, the subconscious brain has told us what, when, and whom to fear. This remains so. When faced with peril, our bodies respond with intensified adrenaline and racing heart beats. Survival depends on our instantaneous emotional response instructing us to run or stay, a millisecond before our rational self can decide.
While our brains have not changed, what we fear has. It is rarely a carnivorous beast that triggers our instinct to run. It is pictures of burning skyscrapers, reports of schoolchildren crouching behind desks to hide from bullets, or a gathering of teens in hoodies that make us tremble: Our 21st Century litany of what to fear.
But are these threats real? My series “Menace” challenges us to question what we “know.” “Menace” confronts us with frightening, darkened, wild animals that trigger the ancient instinct, while our rational mind knows we are in a safe, civilized space, viewing images.
We look longer, closer, and realize the threat was never there: these are taxidermied animals, their images captured in bright sunlit shops, manipulated later by the artist to ferocity. They frighten, but are impotent.
Menace asks us to consider if our modern fears are justified, or if our contemporary bogeymen are figments of our imagination, mere empty threats manipulated by an unseen hand. www.loripond.com