From Loring Knoblauch’s review of “Empire” for Collector Daily:
If we are willing to take a clear-eyed look at the history of once prosperous and powerful human empires, what we find today is largely ancient ruins. Whether we choose to examine the Incas or the Mayans, the Greeks or the Romans, or any number of other dominant peoples, what visibly and durably remains of their vast and complex civilizations is often their grand and impermeable stone architecture, albeit fallen into disrepair and often reclaimed by nature. Time wipes away ephemeral traces quite quickly, but the rocks tend not to move without the help of cataclysmic events.
So when futurists look ahead to the perhaps inevitable fall of our current civilization, the structure of their imaginings usually takes its cues from the past. Apocalyptic scenarios of various kinds (nuclear war, climate disaster, pandemic disease, etc.) tend to be decorated by our optimistic steel skyscrapers and concrete highways left abandoned and nature doing what it always does, slowly and patiently recolonizing urban cities and undoing man-made realities, with trees poking through sidewalks and broken windows and ivy climbing unforgiving walls.