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Arts

Mother Nature Makes an Awkward Ex-Lover

Posted by / November 15, 2006

expositions_eng_01.jpgIf you tend to develop a weird sense of environmental schizophrenia when you walk down the street, if interacting with wild things feels like running into an ex that you still love but, well, you hurt them really badly, and now they don't want to have anything to do with you but you keep showing up at the same parties and stepping on their toes (and by "stepping on toes" I mean "spilling toxic waste down their cleavage") - this show is for you. The CCA presents an exhibit by French horticultural engineer and landscape architect Gilles Clement and Swiss architect Philippe Rahm about what has become a really awkward and neurotic relationship between homo sapiens and the natural environment we live in - but might not really consider ourselves part of anymore.

"Fundamentally, the problem of the relationship between humans and the environment, between nature and culture, is not technological or aesthetic, but rather an ethical one."

Is there any other animal on the planet that names "Nature"? What other species concieves of itself and its species as something "apart" from nature? Does a squirrel sit back and contemplate the colour of the fall leaves and sigh with contentment, happy that s/he doesn't have to sit in an office all day? Does the squirrel has a sense of pastoral aesthetics? Does the squirrel give a damn about environmental philosophy? Or does the squirrel care only about the impending threat of starvation signalled by the changing leaves?

When we say we're "in nature", doesn't it follow that we are surrounded by something to which we are no longer a part of? Like, we are "in water", not "of water". The minute we gave a name to Nature, we differentiated ourselves from it, and created a cleavage between our selves as human animals and ourselves as something alien to our own past.

What's with that? What are we then if we are not natural creatures?

"It is no longer possible to consider the environment merely in terms of its potential for exploitation. It has become increasingly difficult to determine the status of human beings with respect to the environment. We are currently under pressure to reconsider our relationship to our surroundings, and this requires a change of perspective - in fact, a complete reversal - which takes the environment, and not human demands on the environment, as the starting point for reflection. We propose to consider the projects of French horticultural engineer and landscape architect Gilles Clement and Swiss architect Philippe Rahm as "operating instructions" for the environment." - from the CCA website.

Discussion

2 Comments

J Mac / November 16, 2006 at 11:30 pm
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I'm totally going to this. Except I can't tell from the post if you actually liked the exhibit, or if you just enjoyed the possibilities raised by its theme. Soooo ... is it good?
Pearl / November 18, 2006 at 01:37 pm
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Interesting subject and great title.
Even urban living central heat and A/C disconnects from the seasons and makes us someone adversarial.
I'll check out Rahm.

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