Alter Nature: We Can
Alter Nature: We Can shows the work of 20 international contemporary artists and designers. The exhibition focuses on the different ways in which people have displaced, manipulated or designed nature: from small gardens to private islands, from carrots and bonsai trees to acoustic plants and orange pheasants.
In Alter Nature: We Can, Z33 looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this.
The works are not about using nature to meet basic needs (such as health, food, protection, etc.). Interesting projects in this context are legion, but grouped together they almost inevitably lead to simplified contradictions. On the one hand, one has projects that look ‘positively’ upon transforming nature: they find out what technology can do or they show solutions. These projects are often criticised because they seem to subscribe seamlessly to the scientific belief in progress. On the other hand, some projects show the negative side; they look at interventions in nature that have gone wrong. These projects are criticesed to bethe autonomous art corner’s wagging finger. They criticise but do not offer any solutions.
Alter Nature: We Can wants to go beyond this simplified pro-contra positioning. The works on display are therefore devoid of strict utilitarianism and the emphasis is on the historic context of intervention, the multiplicity of manipulations and our fluctuating understanding of the concept of nature.
Alter Nature: We Can is part of Alter Nature, an overarching project by Z33, the Hasselt Fashion Museum and CIAP in collaboration with the MAD faculty, the University of Hasselt, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), KULeuven University and bioSCENTer.
Karen Verschooren (Z33)
Makoto Azuma (JP)
BCL: Shiho Fukuhara (JP) and Georg Tremmel (AT)
David Benqué (UK)
Julien Berthier (FR)
Merijn Bolink (NL)
Center for PostNatural History
Mark Dion (US)
Driessens & Verstappen (NL)
Daisy Ginsberg (UK)
Tue Greenfort (DK)
Natalie Jeremijenko (US)
Eduardo Kac (US)
James King (UK)
Allison Kudla (US)
Reinier Lagendijk (NL)
Antti Laitinen (FIN)
Hans Op de Beeck (B)
Michael Sailstorfer (D)
Maarten Vanden Eynde (B)
Adrian Woods (NL)
Adam Zaretsky (US)
Alter Nature: We Can is supported by Provincie Limburg, Vlaamse Overheid, Stad Hasselt, Mondriaan Stichting, Groep C, Levis, Canon Cultuurcel
Four exhibitions, a symposium and more
On how we can and do change nature, and how this changes our view of the world.
In Alter Nature the focus is on changing nature. That humankind has an impact on nature is beyond question: we have been consciously changing nature since the beginning of time. This can range from the displacement and demarcation of nature to the setup of selective cultivation programmes; from animal species being bred into the perfect specimens and plant types that are grown to be more productive, to roses and carnations produced in all colours of the rainbow.
Over the last decade, developments in bioscience and technology have given this evolution new momentum. Conjuring genetic material out of nothing, or growing human skin in a laboratory; it may sound like futuristic science fiction, but this is reality.
People have altered nature to fulfil all sorts of needs: nutrition, health and protection, but also aesthetics, experiment, success, myth or just pure curiosity. Whatever the reason or form may be, this interference in nature has not only fundamentally shaken our views on and the functioning of our society. Rather, the term ‘nature’ itself is being continually challenged.
What’s more, these developments have inspired not just scientists, but also artists, fashion and other designers. For this reason, Z33, the Fashion Museum, CIAP, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, the University of Hasselt and the MAD faculty have joined forces to present four different exhibitions and a symposium. 50 artists and designers explore how we can and do change nature, and how this changes our view of the world.
Between 21 November 2010 and 13 March 2011 you can visit Alter Nature: We Can in Z33 and Alter Nature: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger in CIAP. From 28-January 2011 another two locations will join Alter Nature: the Hasselt Fashion Museum will be showing Alter Nature: The Future That Never Was, and in the High Spaces of Z33 Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen will display their work in Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal.
As part of the Social Spaces initiative, students from the MAD faculty, too, are dedicating a semester to these themes under the title Alter Nature: My biological (r)evolution. The results will be on show in Z33 between 28 and 30 January 2011. And finally, on 18 February 2011 various scientists, artists, policy advisers and businesspeople will come together to tackle a range of topics in an Alter Nature symposium.
You can also find Alter Nature programmes both in ZEBRA DELUXE and the A-Z lectures;