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Arts & Culture

Future Bear wants to save the world

Rollins professors Rachel Simmons and Julian Chambliss create an environmental superhero

Photo: ILLUSTRATIONS BY RACHEL SIMMONS, License: N/A

ILLUSTRATIONS BY RACHEL SIMMONS

Photo: , License: N/A


Chambliss, a comic book expert who explores the deeper social meanings of superheroes in his urban history classes, emphasizes Future Bear’s abilities: “Empathic telepathy – she projects her thoughts to people and gets their thoughts and feelings; strength – she is a freaking bear! And bio-enhancement, which in the future will be common.” This story will play out in several issues, and they’re planning still more. The unusual combination of science and superhero gets to the heart with an accessible message, reaching people otherwise unaffected by science-centric news stories.

“When I travel, I’m keenly aware of the impact I will make on the place I’m visiting,” said Simmons in her TED talk, “and that is a tension that comes up in my artwork a lot.” Artists, by nature, sensitize themselves to their surroundings to better document and create. Future Bear’s accidental displacement gets to the root of our current exquisite discomfort; we are too big, influencing the entire planet, yet we feel too small, with no power to halt the process. Future Bear shares her moral capital with humans and invites us to do the same. That is the only way we can hope to slow this devilish juggernaut of man-made planetary change.

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