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Apocalypse How?

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Mixed media digital artwork combining found imagery from vintage magazines and books with painted and textured elements. The overall hues are blues, yellows and reds. The illustration is split in two by a red and yellow line running vertically through the image at a slight angle. On the left side of this line is the black and white archive image od the head and upper body of a man with a white beard wearing a suit from the Victorian era. The top half of his head from his nose up has been replaced with strips of newspapers arranged in a step formation to resemble a Mayan temple. The first level of newspaper has the word 'Revelations' in all caps. As the levels rise the words, 'calendar', December 21st', 'Maya' and '2012' appear in newspaper print. At the top of the temple structure is a bright light and an explosion of red and yellow wedges shooting up into the blue background. A large crack runs down through the temple. On the right side of the vertical lines, the image of this temple structure is duplicated and enlarged to reveal it in more detail and crop out the man's lower head. A small figure can now be seen flying through the air, propelled by the force of the explosion.
Deciding a date for the end of the world. © Gergo Varga (varrgo.com) for Wellcome Collection.

We humans have predicted our own doom over and over in a myriad of dramatic ways, from the Biblical apocalypse to movies like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, with its enormous climate-shift tsunami. In this seven-part series, historian Charlotte Sleigh explores previous prophecies and sciences of annihilation, asking what we can learn from them. Hope, depression, fear, inspiration, selfishness and altruism resulted at different times and in different places. Our appetite for epic disaster tales makes it difficult to imagine how climate change will take place – or rather, is already happening. Climate change is different from the rest, but with the benefit of history, we might approach the brink a little more wisely this time.