Natural:Matter artist talk
COWS / FINGERS + Pete Jiadong Qiang: transmediale–Vilém Flusser Resident 2020, Artist talk
“We have several ways of relating to nature […] One of these ways is to see nature as a map. In this view, we have inverted the epistemological relation between landscape and map. The map no longer represents the landscape, but now it is the landscape that represents the map.”Flusser, Natural:Mind, 2013, 11
How we relate to things outside of our bodies is not a one-directional movement of projecting a map onto our environment. The map we project out snaps back again to take a hold of and entangle us. When Flusser wrote Natural:Mente (Natural:Mind) in 1979, he was developing his own vein of phenomenology bringing to our attention the experience of natural objects. In a collection of individual essays, he cycles through objects of nature such as Paths, Valleys, Birds, Rain, Cows, The Moon. By objecting the simple antagonism between nature and culture, he warns of dualist thinking and its extension in the domination of nature. At the same time, (eco-)feminist, postcolonial, queer, posthumanist theory and politics have shown how the conquest of nature by culture weaponises “human nature”, excluding and marking with violence all bodies that are separated out from the gridded norm or “natural” form. As part of Natural:Matter, we aim to warp our readings of Flusser through these vectors of oppression, messing with the configurations and orientations between informational maps and material landscapes.
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