Last City

A3, digital, 2014
Inspired by the Arthur C. Clarke novel, The City and the Stars.

A city of the future, vibrant with life and activity, lies under a transparent dome. But something is wrong – the vegetation immediately outside the dome is wild and unkempt. We imagine that the inhabitants rarely, if ever, leave their enclosed environment to venture into this wilderness, either because they don’t want to, or because they can’t. They may even be oblivious to the world outside, and care little for what is there.

Someone is outside, though, and stands looking at the city in rapt attention. Or is he looking at the spacecraft which speeds away towards the stars? The vessel looks lonely, yet brave, as it drives into space, and we wonder whether its crew are escaping from the enclosed existence of the dome. Does the solitary figure envy them in their release, or does he puzzle over why anyone should wish to leave this protected and comfortable life? It might be that the dome is filled with prisoners who crave release, but perhaps the figure is himself the prisoner, trapped outside the paradise of safety and security which he aches to join.

Text: Richard Hayes