With a glass fish bowl underneath his arms, the self-taught photographer and graphic designer Simon McCheung travelled from his hometown London to Iceland to create his photo series “Interstellar”. Looking for the unfamiliar landscapes, he wanted to explore a strange new world. “I’ve chosen Iceland because I know they are known for their almost alien and amazing landscapes. So alien that I thought it would be fitting to create a theme on space exploration and extraordinary worlds“, said Simon in an interview with MOVE.
The man in this photo series, looking like an astronaut, is sharing a story. On the one hand side he is presenting the beauty of the alienated country Iceland, where climate change is affecting the environment. On a deeper level McCheung shares a broader story: “The bubble was the metaphor for the created world that we all live so comfortably, such as distractions in media, social life etc. It is pretty much as the saying goes ‘Living inside a bubble’, to be unaware of the urgent issues happening in the world that could affect the balance of your own life.”
“Interstellar” is a great example of the sociocultural trend ALIENATION. We tend to think our worlds are bigger than ever, thanks to the growing access to the Internet for example. But we forget that algorithms are the rulers of our world. Spotify comes up with music based on the genres you’ve been listening to before. Netflix recommends films which are linked to previous films you’ve watched, and Facebook only shows newsfeed that fits your profile. When wandering in the online and offline world, our eyes see what they want to see, and all the rest “doesn’t exist”. But it has a reason this bubble does exist. McCheung: “We created the bubble to protect our own interest such as happiness, safety and well-being. When you’ve been living inside the bubble for so long, your perception of the world that exist outside of your bubble has become alien to your own life.”
For everyone there is a way to live a life outside that bubble. McCheung: “I can only tell you my own experience on how to live life outside of the bubble, and that is to be not afraid of being outside your comfort zone, as this will widen your perception of the world and your mind will become more susceptable to new knowledge.”
Interstellar // Crash
Interstellar // Discover
We feel our surroundings for something familiar to relate to, but what if there’s nothing familiar at all?
Do we then make the surroundings familiar to us?
I see a dog in the distance.
Interstellar // Spectator
She came and presented herself to us.
She’s beautiful but moving away from us.
The under currents are changing but I’m too distracted by her beauty to notice.
Interstellar // Shattered Memoirs
My neglect of the under currents have burst my bubble.
I don’t understand and I’m unfamiliar.
I’m back to the same place where I first crashed.
Interstellar // Intimate
Am I dreaming?
She’s taken me in her arms.
I begin to understand what’s causing the pain.
Interstellar // The Other Side
By her side.
I see things beyond the spectator.
Interstellar // Awaken
She let me go.
I’m left alone to with a burst bubble.
Interstellar // Contemplation
All I can think about was her.
I realize the bubble was holding me back.
Interstellar // Promise
I want to make a promise with her.
By living my life outside the bubble.
Interstellar // This is Home
I realized that she had always been close and familiar.
The land wasn’t alien, but we created a bubble to see things alien.
This was our home after all.
Photo Credits: Simon McCheung