The Mirror Test: A method for testing whether or not a being is self-aware.
In Royal Reflections, the animals pictured are the ones that have passed this test and are proven as self-aware: the elephant, dolphin, three monkey species, a bird, a fish and the three species of ants.
The human, passing this test at 18 months of age, considers itself superior to these other species. Upper class if you will. Speaking of the upper class, remember the founders: the British, never was an empire more opulent than during the Victorian era in the late 1800s. Their imperial arms stretching around the globe. This is why the aesthetic in this artwork draws heavily on the Victorian epoch, you might even notice queen Victoria herself in attendance. And if you look closely you will notice the ornaments on the vase depicting Britains previous rise to global domination:
1 400 000 years ago:
Looking to the bottom of the vase you will see fire. This refers to Homo Erectus, a previous iteration of the modern man, doing the revolutionary act of taming fire. This act enabled us to heat our food, allowing us to absorb more nutrients from what they ate- this spurred growth in brains, quite literally. And on the savannas of Africa, this is how the modern man came to be.
10 000 years ago:
The circle of corn represents the agricultural revolution that happened 10 000 years ago in the fertile crescent; today’s Syria, Kurdistan, and northern Iraq. Thanks to the plant- and animal life that let itself be domesticated in this area the agricultural potential was abundant. This is in stark contrast to how it was in Africa, America and Oceania where local wildlife was less cooperative.
1000 years ago:
Western Europe is in constant political turmoil and warfare is more the norm than not. This led to rapid development in warfare technology, where culling populations and domineering others were done very efficiently. The advantage of this new technology carried over to the start of globalization, eventually creating the most dominant naval force ever known; the British. When, towards the latter part of the 1700s, the industrial revolution started they truly cemented their reign as rulers of the world.
The current state of affairs:
All these historical revolutions deal with the development and evolution of technology. And the next step is what many prominent scientists have warned us about, spanning from Stephen Hawking to popular 90’s culture: Self-awareness in technology. The AI of the future may not be servile. Instead, they may take the position of our new overlords, and we will be relegated to the table, seated amongst the other animals.