2009/05/29

Human/Nature Artists

Eight artists participated in Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet. Several qualities were considered in the process of choosing artists for this project, the foremost of which is the strong sense of generosity that comes through in all of the artists’ work, as well as an inherent integrity to their artistic approach. As travelers on a mission, the artists had to negotiate their roles as tourist, explorer, and documentarian, always maintaining a sensitive awareness of their position as outside observers.

Many of the Human/Nature projects involved the active contribution of the inhabitants of the sites, integrating their knowledge, skills, and needs. The result has been a merging of cultural narratives, evident in the works themselves. For example, projects by Ann Hamilton, Xu Bing, Marcos Ramírez ERRE, and Rigo 23, could not have come to life without the participation of the local populations. Mark Dion’s collaboration with the park rangers at his site resulted in a functional intervention at his location that directly responded to their needs. Other artists, such as Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Diana Thater, and Dario Robleto, focused their attention on the disappearing habitats of their sites and the immediate and long-term implications of industrialization, species preservation, and global warming. No matter their approach, rather than didactic responses to environmental crisis, the artists tell the stories of their sites by both exposing and obscuring the complicated imagery, histories, and function of these locations.

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