On Earth – Imaging, Technology and the Natural World
March 20 – September 02, 2020
Technological developments and the rapidly changing climate have altered our relationship to nature. Photography offers a means of observing the world and our effect upon it. But can it also act as a catalyst in adopting new ways of relating to what surrounds us? Following in the footsteps of the iconic landscape photographers of the nineteenth century, a new generation of artists is using contemporary visual technologies to record and to question our relationship to the world. They do so using the same modern technologies that increasingly pervade how we relate to the world: often electronically, and mediated by our digital screens.
The exhibition On Earth – Imaging, Technology and the Natural World brings together works by 27 contemporary artists who use innovative visual strategies to examine the constantly evolving relationship between mankind and nature. Besides photography, they use media such as installations, sculpture, virtual reality and video. With one or two exceptions, these artists no longer wander the land with camera in hand to capture the landscape. Instead, photographers like Thomas Albdorf, Melanie Bonajo and Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács make use of social media, image search machines, Google Earth, virtual reality and other visual media to explore our experience of nature.
The work by Mark Dorf and Noémie Goudal makes clear how technology and the natural landscape are intrinsically interwoven, thereby demonstrating how our understanding of nature is largely shaped by human intervention. Other artists, such as Mishka Henner and Anouk Kruithof, explore the power of images to expose (or to conceal) the destructive effects of human interventions in the landscape, while Lucas Foglia and Adam Jeppesen search for alternative ways of living in harmony with nature.
Combining a wide range of visual techniques with technological, socio-economic, spiritual and political perspectives, the exhibition explores what ‘landscape photography’ can mean today. What all works have in common is that they testify to the profound impact that (visual) technology has on the paradoxical relationship between mankind and nature. The role of photography is no longer just to document and raise awareness; today it operates just as much as an active and often powerful accomplice.