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Julia van

Rethinking Nature

Project details

New Earth

Rethinking Nature presents different perceptions and definitions of the concept ‘nature’ and the ways we, humans, make connections with ‘nature’. It lets the viewer question what nature means and what the instability and the dynamics of the term can entail, by using a visual language that is broadly interpretable. Through making broad associations with the term, I want to bring the human-nature relationship in a new daylight.

When I think of a ‘New Earth’, I immediately think of how the human population will live in the future and what the human-nature relationship will look like in the future. With my project, I wanted to find out more about the ways people relate to the word ‘nature’ and the influence this has on our philosophical groundings and the long-lasting separation between humans and nature, which also can have implications for our environmental values, attitudes and behaviour.

My project is all about looking, associating and rethinking the idea of ‘nature’. The word ‘nature’ is something that we, humans, invented ourselves. But what does this term actually mean? Does everyone have the same thing in mind when thinking about it? Does it have to do with a ‘green’ place or is it more about something that is as far away from human influence as possible?

During my research study, I asked a group of 86 participants about it and a broad range of descriptions of nature resulted in this. There is not just one simple way to describe ‘nature’ or ‘being close to nature’. The descriptions we think of are very dependent on our own ways of looking and associating.

From all the different descriptions that I collected, I created visual representations to emphasize the differences between the descriptions more. It became a collection of visual representations, almost like a ‘catalog’ or ‘broad dictionary’ of nature. My aim with this emphasis on the unstableness of the word ‘nature’ is to bring a critical discussion to life on the whole term ‘nature’ and how we, as humans, use it in our ways of communication and position ourselves in it. My book can be a conversation starter this way.

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