Shannon Ahern
Undergraduate, Graphic Design

View Master
Card board, transparent paper, trash bag, paper

The View Master was created as an educational tool aimed at adults, but it quickly became accepted as a children’s toy. In this project, viewers use this nostalgic tool to watch firsthand how humans destroy nature. The Venus figures on the film reel represent the vulnerability of nature, which like the human body, we exploit routinely in art and in society. The traditional landscape paintings speak to society’s romanticized view of nature, which I collaged with my own photos of nature. Viewers become children spinning a sequence of playful imaginative images that represent a serious, even deadly, environmental issue. As viewers spin the reel the beautiful images of nature and the human body get destroyed through bombing and pollution. Lastly, a hazardous safety mask is attached to the front of the View Master, so that as one uses the toy, viewers around them see ]a hazardous reality of environmental damage. Americans consume above our bio-capacity which directly contributes to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change. From toxic industrial chemicals, fertilizer runoff, trash, and smog the once glorified landscapes often associated with America are deteriorating at our fingertips. I hope this project forces viewers to confront how their own actions are reflected in nature.