12.07 –09.08.2019 | UNNATURAL | Kleine Humboldt Galerie, Berlin, DE | Curated by Julia Modes
DUY HOÀNG, MARK DION, SILVIA NORONHA, MARKUS WIRTHMANN, NINA SCHUIKI, SASKIA KRAFFT, JONATHAN BANZ& NICOLÒ KRÄTTLI, ROBERT SMITHSON
The biologist Charles Darwin definenatural selecas the principle of survival and reproductiontionof any variation that provided advantageous, nomatter how small. His evolutionary theory plainlyexplained the mechanisms of species’ variation inthe plant and animal kingdoms. Humans were nolonger the pride of creation but rather part of aprotracted process in which they prevailed overother species.
However, within their culturally created socialstructures, humans are subjected to very different,everyday mechanisms of selection – and further,they themselves do the selecting. When humansattempt to comprehend the forces of nature, acquire them, and utilize them for their own needs,they make decisions based on their own value systems, which affect nature in turn. In this manner,human activity has become a crucial factor withinthe evolutionary process. Can the conscious selection by humans still be regarded asor doesnaturalit have to be understood asunnatural?
The exhibition unnatural is dedicated to this dichotomy of humans and nature. Six contemporaryartists will explore the human fascination with, aswell as our influence on, natural cycles and theconsequences of this activity in the age of the Anthropocene. Their works will discuss natural catastrophes caused by human action, attempts to imitate natural processes, and the practice of collectingorganic materials in order to instigate a discourseon natural and unnatural selection mechanisms.
Silvia Noronha, The Future of Stones, 2017
The Brazilian artist Silvia Noronha made Future Stones in response to Brazil’s natural catastrophe of November 5, 2015, in which the dam of a retaining basin collapsed, flooding villages including Bento Rodriguez with a cascade of mud containing toxic mining waste. Noronha collected contaminated soil on site and created Future Stones through the application of high pressure and temperature, in cooperation with the Institute of Applied Geoscience and the Geochemical Laboratory of the TU Berlin. Rocks, understood as a medium that preserve information about their moment of creation and subsequent existence, are transformed into a pseudo-alchemistic, speculative prediction of a post-human geology. Noronha therefore points towards the increasingly precarious interferences between natural ecology and human impact, as well as the development of a manmade next nature.