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It’s always thought provoking when you come across artwork that was created years ago, whether it be by a few decades or a few thousand years. Art, in all its many forms, can tell us so much about the thoughts, feelings, history, and ideology which dominated the time period in which it was created.

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I came across a series of futuristic pictures (at publicdomainreview.org) created by Jean-March Cote and various other artists in 1899, 1900, 1901, and 1910. They were originally in the form of postcards or paper cards enclosed in cigarette boxes. The images depict the world as it was imagined it would be like in the year 2000.

These pictures were created in a time well before the introduction of high tech machinery, the industrial revolution, or flying contraptions. The world was clean, and human impact on the environment and our own health was minimal. In the past 100 years alone, the way we’ve ‘progressed’ has harmed our planet and all life on it. A time for change is long overdue, and I’m sure if you asked some artists to depict what the human experience will be like 100 years from now, it wouldn’t be so pretty.

100 years has flown by at a rapid pace, and our exponential technological development in all areas seems to have been missing an appropriate level of consciousness to go with it. As a result, our planet continues to be destroyed. But there is still time to turn it around, and it seems things are headed in a better direction. At least from my vantage point, working in this area for a number of years now, the amount of progress we’ve made is truly remarkable. From awareness to action, we have indeed been taking steps in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.

What would you paint? How do you imagine the world 100 years from now?

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