Conrado Velasco is a photographer and art director born and educated in the Philippines. He currently divides his time between Ireland and Germany and here we present you his body of work Interior Design in the Age of Extinction.
By Velasco’s own admission, he tends to look at the environment in zoos as a theatre for the uncanny, exuding the sense of something being ever so slightly off. They are “illusory spaces” devoid of the natural habitat and surroundings of its animal occupants — there are no plumages or foliage or lakes and birds flying around. It’s all a manmade, almost sterile environment, which is anything but natural to the incarcerated animals.
Zoos exude a vibe of uneasiness, of something being slightly “off”. This feeling is not unlike the idea of “the uncanny” which Sigmund Freud attributes to having the familiar sit side by side with the unfamiliar. This results in some anxiety or even fear.
Plastic plants, fake boulders and painted sceneries of far away savannahs punctuate every nook and cranny. It is all a ruse, of course, and underneath it all is a troubling narrative about the state of our planet. These are places that attempt to present themselves as a haven for animals but in fact the reality is very different — this is not in any way, shape or form the way that animals are intended to live and it interrupts their natural cycle.
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