Extinction Symbol

Why create a symbol for extinction? An interview with the designer:

“As you may have already heard by now, a mass extinction of plant and animal species is currently underway which is being caused by human activity. It was felt that the realm of visual culture hadn’t yet responded adequately to this situation, and so the extinction symbol was created as a way to distill a complex concept into an easily recognisable graphic image which transcends language differences and can be quickly and easily replicated by anybody in a range of mediums and regardless of artistic ability. The circle represents the planet, and the hourglass indicates that time is rapidly running out for many species, including humans.

“This is a decentralised, strictly non-commercial participatory project that people can use to express their concerns about the extinction crisis. The aim is to raise awareness and act as a continual reminder to people who see it as they move around the city that their actions at any given moment could potentially have far-reaching effects. Thus it serves as a visual confrontation/admonishment to those who indulge in the hyper-consumerist lifestyle and who are presently estranged or insulated from the consequences of this, due to living in almost entirely artificial urban environments. The very presence of the symbol in public space promotes a cultural shift away from the current destructive paradigm, while also signalling an increasingly emergent resistance movement. Hopefully by having the message constantly reinforced, it becomes impossible to ignore.

“By autonomously creating a physical manifestation of the symbol, a person automatically becomes a member of the extinction symbol collective, and in the process states their refusal to remain a passive bystander. Curiosity is stimulated in those who randomly come across the symbol and might initially be unaware of the meaning behind it, potentially leading to further investigation and exploration of the issues involved. Examples of the symbol seen in public are shared via various social media channels, and a space for discourse opened up. On an individual level, people taking part in the project have reported that creating the symbol can help to lessen the feelings of powerlessness and alienation endemic to techno-industrial society.

“Your participation is welcomed and encouraged. Please create the symbol everywhere you can.”

The symbol can be downloaded freely from http://www.extinctionsymbol.info/

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