These Eerie WPA-Style Posters Imagine Our National Parks in 2050

Though many topics clamor for attention in today’s news landscape, Climate Change remains an ever present feature– and, as always, an increasingly important one.

Climate Change, however, is not the most palatable topic. It can be incredibly depressing and there’s a tendency to avoid looking at it straight on for fear of sinking yourself into a well of despair.

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Hannah Rothstein, however, is taking advantage of that avoidance with her new collection of politically-charged posters titled National Parks 2050.

The posters are drawn in the classic Works Progress Administration (WPA) style, capitalizing on the sparing hopefulness born in the throes of the Great Depression. Minimal and evocative, each piece juxtaposes the original WPA poster of a national park with a haunting projection of what the park will look like by 2050.

“I think a lot of people recognize the posters and that was key to the success (of this project), to have something familiar to people,” Rothstein told Grist. “They could be familiar, but then have to look twice to figure out what was different.”

Rothstein prefaces the collection (a series of seven) with an Aldous Huxley (he of Brave New World fame) quote: Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Combined with the WPA style, the posters are disturbingly prescient, in spite of their vintage aesthetic; it’s easy to draw parallels between the discouraged spirit of The Great Depression and today’s global climate.

Yet the WPA art and projects were of a deeply optimistic nature, of the kind close to what America– in her better moments– can be. Ultimately, the WPA was successful– and with any luck, Rothstein’s work will enjoy the same success.

To find out more about Hannah Rothstein’s work or to purchase prints, visit her website.

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