This sculpture was built in Venice in 2017, I don’t know if it is still there.
Some ways away, technically in Vatican City but pretty much also in Italy, is the famous Sistine Chapel which also has on it a artistic rendition a detail of which is two (white) hands. Commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508, in it one hand was God’s and the other’s a man’s.
To digress, my opinion is that those hands were also symbolism about the globe. The Columbus trip in 1492 had publicized the spherical Earth – I imagine Italian Catholic elites regretted it had been Spain and not anyone in nascent Italy who had commissioned the trip (the navigator was not Spanish). I imagine Pope Julius wanted to express it was specifically where the Vatican was that the super-special touching of fingers between the heavens and the round Earth was the most timelessly expressed.
Back to my point: the contrast could not be starker. The two hands in 1508 were optimistic, from above, and involved more than one being – each of which had faces. Compared to the 2017 hands which are negative, from below, and a single, faceless person. IMO these are the key differences – with the man’s being underwater expressing a profound existential loneliness of the artist & fans.
They would say, no, they are drowning in climate change — yet someone posted that the publicity material did not say it was specifically about any CAGW accelerated sea level rise (just about CAGW in general).
My framing is it is unconscious in them. In between the artist & sponsors. They are in denial they have drowned their own civilization by narcissism or, another way of putting it, by anti-human, materialist, nihilist BS. C.S. Lewis maybe around 1950 predicted this, calling it ‘the Abolition of Man’ (earlier William Butler Yeats also said much the same thing).
I assert this truth arrives in their conscious masked, in this case in inverted form. Much like in some REM dreams. Where the mask is something the dreamer also cares about, in this case the climate, but it still a mask, underlying is their sense of being drowned and being alone/dying alone.
Imagine a fool telling a psychiatrist, “Doc, I keep having the same dream about a train going into a tunnel, I think I should become a train conductor, that’s the meaning.” but here it “I keep having this dream about drowning alone, I think we all should start eating insects.”
I am not Lewis, of course, but imagine he was right, that Science cannot replace God. There would be a lot of people who nevertheless were sure it can and this statue is what would happen, exactly where it is, with vague reasons for the peculiar symbolism.