José Luis Tejero

Responding to:
‘Weren’t they funny?’, Life, 10th  December 1914, p. 349

Ink, watercolour, coloured pencils and photoshop – 29’7 x 21cm.

I found it interesting how the artist imagined future societies observing people from 1914. The artist was probably critical of his society and thought that future generations would find these people funny, even stupid, due to the fashion of their time, or their behaviours, beliefs and moral values and prejudices. Those future societies would replace the old behaviours, beliefs etc, with their own, and so we can imagine that those future societies would probably also seem funny to later generations, which is interesting, because it shows how things are only as important as we make them.

I wonder how the artist felt back then about their society? Probably a similar way to how I feel about mine nowadays. I observe many stupid and superficial behaviours, like the overuse of smartphones and social media, showing to others a kind of life which is not real, pretending we are happy or successful, and feeling like we have to present our lives to others, in order to be noticed online. Furthermore, being addicted to these devices really disconnects us from others and ourselves.

I am critical of this lack of values and, like the artist who created the original illustration, I have tried to imagine what future societies would think about humanity today, and the extraordinary times in which we are currently living, due to the pandemic. But I’ve gone a bit further than that, I’ve tried to imagine our world being observed from a distance, and from a completely different point of view. I have also suggested a possible extinction, revealing our vulnerability in the universe and the great joke in which we are all living. Aren’t we funny?