In his 2007 book The World Without Us, author Alan Weisman imagines what Earth would be like if humans disappeared today. Your home would give way to natural forces faster than you might think. And 500 years from now, your whole neighborhood would revert back to its pre-human state—most likely a forested land. But what if our cities were made out of bread? Then, of course, they would just get moldy. It’s a fun photo series, yes, but it’s also a thoughtful statement on the impermanence of humanity’s stamp on the planet.
In an A’ Design Award-winning project, theater set designer Johanna Mårtensson brings to life this bread world. She built up a model cityscape made out of bread—and then photographed it every day for six months while it devolved into a crumbling moldy mess. She writes on the A’ Design website:
In a model building I wanted to give thoughts around the reality, that we consider ours and look at it as a scenography to an imagined scenario. A scenario by nature occasional and perishable. What is behind it or what will happen when the decor moulds might not be a coming apocalypse but the creation of a new process.
As the Atlantic points out, Mårtensson’s bread city has made the rounds; it has already been showcased in Stockholm and Los Angeles. Because while the piece is kind of gross, it’s also a potent reminder of how fragile everything really is and the power of nature to reclaim and reprocess everything.