Columns The asteroid in Don’t Look Up is thought of as a metaphor for climate change – but the film can be interpreted differently

Man is the asteroid that destroys the Earth, writes Jussi Ahlroth.

New movie Don’t Look Up is a social satire whose central metaphor is an asteroid crashing toward Earth. It threatens to destroy humanity.

The obvious interpretation is that an asteroid is a climate destroyer. By the way, comets are ice, rocky bodies are asteroids.

The film also offers an opportunity for a different interpretation.

We are an asteroid.

Sentence is from an artist Justin Brice Guariglian and philosophers Timothy Mortonin joint works. They are erecting light boards around the world that read phrases related to climate change, most notably “We Are the Asteroid”.

Don’t Look Up movie the coldest character is Mark Rylancen presented by Sir Peter Isherwell, CEO of Bash. He introduces the new phone Bash Liif, which accurately assesses the user’s state of mind and recommends appropriate content. Isherwell is a caricature of weird leaders in technology companies. He is stopping a plan that is already in good shape to destroy an asteroid that threatens our way of life. The asteroid is too valuable to destroy, he said. He wants to extract precious metals from it.

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For social media companies, we are specifically mines where value is mined. We know that the algorithms that manage some platforms, consider negative emotions more valuable than positive ones. Confusion, doubt, anger, and jealousy evoke much quicker and stronger reactions than kindness, gratitude, and respect. Our negative emotions are precious metal, they are gold and platinum for algorithms. We are an asteroid containing precious metals that is being mined by social media companies.

This is what is destroying humanity Don’t look up.

Contact Morton and Guarigliani’s work is not entirely drawn from the solar wind. Film director-screenwriter Adam McKay seems to be familiar with the works of Timothy Morton. He has named his production company Hyperobject Productions.

A hyperobject is a term coined by Morton for phenomena such as a climate catastrophe that are very difficult to conceive in our traditional ways of thinking and understanding.

What can art do in this time, in the face of such phenomena challenging our categories of thinking? For example, to create new metaphors.

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Read more: Don’t Look Up, Netflix’s Christmas hit at Christmas, is a satire disguised as a disaster film – Serious message about climate change drowns in places

Read more: Don’t Look Up is one of the best climate change movies ever because it’s not satire

Read more: Satire painfully resembles reality

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