On Earth: Imaging, Technology, and the Natural World
Since its inception, photography has testified to the complex relationship between humans, nature, and technology. In the wake of great nineteenth-century landscape photographers, a new generation of artists are employing contemporary imaging techniques to observe the natural world and the effects of human existence on it. But can these techniques also function as a catalyst for alternative ways of engaging with the environment?
On Earth, curated by the Foam Museum in Amsterdam as part of Les Rencontres de la Photographie festival in Arles, France, brings together the work of 25 contemporary artists who use innovative strategies to reflect on the evolving relationship between humans and nature. In addition to photography, the artists make use of installations, sculpture, and video. Artists including Thomas Albdorf, Mishka Henner (featured elsewhere in this issue), Drew Nikonowicz, and the duo Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács employ social media, image search engines, Google Maps, virtual reality, and other visual tools to unpack an increasingly mediated and screen-based experience of the landscape.
The interconnectedness between imaging technology and the experience of the natural landscape becomes apparent in the work of Lucas Foglia, who shows that the concept of “nature” depends largely on human engineering. Artists such as Adam Jeppesen explore alternative ways for people to connect with and perceive nature. These various visual approaches diverge and converge throughout the On Earth exhibition, showing how artists both scrutinize and reconcile society’s connection with the world.