Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Kelly Richardson has exhibited her video installations at galleries all over the world. Captivating, silent visions of alien worlds and futuristic landscapes, her art seems calming and contemplative — but when you look further, you find something sinister. A warning about what awaits, if we don't change course.

Top image: The Last Frontier, 2013. Photo by Kelly Richardson.

Richardson's videos contain alarming premonitions of future ruin, and she attempts to use these VFX-heavy other worlds to lure people into thinking about the world we live in now, she tells io9:

Marshall McLuhan speculated that we could never fully perceive current environments until another replaced it. He used the example of the Industrialised world replacing Agrarian culture, for instance of which the latter became much more perceptible through the transition to a mechanical environment. In my view, science fiction is arguably the only window through which we can view our current environment, our priorities / path, etc. with some measure of clarity. Experiencing possible, even plausible futures provides an opportunity to reflect on the present with some degree of hindsight. Given the rather terrifying predictions for our future through the effects of climate change, I would argue that there has never been a more important time to do that while there is still an opportunity to change course.

One of her best known works is Orion Tide (2013), in which you can see rockets streaming towards the sky:

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Orion Tide (2013), photo by Kelly Richardson.

Asked whether this is an apocalyptic vision, Richardson responds:

I strategically imply several narratives simultaneously within all of my work. Working this way allows me to address numerous interests at once. As well as making the work richer, I think this approach allows viewers to experience and interpret the work on a personal level depending on their outlook which is really important to me. So, there are a number of ways to read it. We could be looking at war with an unknown enemy, mass forced exodus of Earth or a more positive interpretation would be space exploration on a grand scale. The only truly apocalyptic reading in there would be the forced exodus. So to answer your question, yes and no - there is always a built-in get-out clause.

Another of her best known works is Mariner 9, which depicts a Martian landscape — except there's a broken down Mars rover in the middle of it:

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Mariner 9 (2010), photo by Colin Davison.

Richardson tells io9:

My science fiction influences vary, though they mainly reside within cinema from the lowest of budgets through to epic productions. More often than not I am actually influenced by a moment within a film which my imagination fires off of. It might be a particular colour treatment, a landscape or simply the atmospheric qualities of a scene which stands out for whatever reason.

Check out more of her work below, and even more over at her website.

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Leviathan, 2011. Photo by Kelly Richardson.

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Exiles of the Shattered Star, 2006. Photo by Colin Davison.

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

The Erudition, 2010. Photo by Colin Davison.

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Mariner 9, 2012. Photo by Colin Davison.

Kelly Richardson's Beautiful Futuristic Landscapes Hide A Dark Secret

Mariner 9, photo by Colin Davison.

[via The Creators Project]