The scientists have been moving the hands of the doomsday clock rather frequently these days. Dramatizing the path of humanity towards imminent destruction. Press conferences riddled with flash and voices shouting for attention illustrate the panic of present day life on Earth. To those who are looking at their lives on the planet it is obvious that we don’t need a time-based gimmick to reveal that the end is nigh. In his monograph “Eschaton” Mike Williams reveals the quiet, subtle, illusive indicators that reveal that our lives here on this planet are close to a radical change. Perhaps not the end, but something similar, something that points to the curtains being drawn over the eyes of the global populous.
While it is stated that Eschaton is a work of fiction it is hard not to draw parallels between the narrative Mike Williams has constructed and where we are as a species. Trash nestles itself on the corner of every road, people grow angrier at one another for differences outside of their control, government is overrun by primitive imbeciles. Williams’ book is both beautiful and scary, it tells the photographer’s own interpretation of the end. The first picture reveals a yellow payphone split in half horizontally, dangling still and silent, as if communication never really stood a chance. Human presence is sparse throughout and when humans do appear their gaze steers clear of the lens. Williams leads us past military monuments, through poisonous trails, close to a semi-truck that eludes to the idea of audio levels.
This is truly the United States of America, the one we all pretend to ignore. A cartoon version of lady liberty in the form of a window sticker slips away into residue, the kind you get rid of with goo gone. Even the trash receptacles are busted pieces of plastic, broken and forgotten. The gasoline pumps’ rotting skeletal frames tell a story of their own loss. Strangely, Mike censors a single image with a blur, a pile of books in the grass, their information and contents rediscovered as rubbish. Jasper Johns’ “Flag” withering away on the page of a battered textbook beaten and faded by the sun and moisturized by the humidity of a disgusting day.
Like any other great civilization, we are not without our forgotten pyramids, our crippled surveillance and security systems, beauty in our decay. When I asked my friend and colleague Bucky Miller about Mike Williams, he said something along the lines of this, “Mike is a genius that we can only begin to comprehend, he knows more than us, and does it better.” It is safe to say I agree with Miller. Eschaton, is referred to as “Book 1” and I can only hope that Mr.
Williams can muster the strength and time to show us more of his prophetic vision. Eschaton is one of the smartest books I’ve come across in a long time and I am excited to see what comes from Williams next if we make it that far.
website: Mike Williams
review by Christian Michael Filardo
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