Field Work – part 2 @ Smart

Field Work – part 2 @ Smart

Amy Balkin | Roderick Hietbrink | Juneau Projects | Fritz Haeg | Servet Koçyiğit |
Mikael Levin | Rebecca Sakoun | Ingo Vetter & Annette Weisser

Opening reception: Saturday 31 May 2008, 21.00 hrs
Exhibition: 31 May – 12 July 2008

Smart Project Space
Arie Biemondstraat 105 – 113
1054 PD Amsterdam

As a two-part exhibition and an ongoing discussion, ‘Field Work’
conjectures two parallel, interconnected, and yet differently orientated
trajectories that encompass art, nature and ecology. The exhibitions
‘Field Work – part 1’ and ‘Field Work – part 2’ address contemporary
perceptions and understandings of nature.

Field Work – part 1’ looked at contemporary perceptions and
understandings of landscape, at how ones perception of landscape may be
informed by human transformations of the environment, and by their
mediation through artistic depictions and cultural representations –
which are often partial and politically inflected. ‘Field Work – part 2’
is a gentle invitation to rethink the distinction most of us make
between nature and culture. Each work in the show in its own way deals
with the relationship between nature and a man-made environment.
Mikael Levin’s series of photographs ´Settling into Nature´ show not
only how industrialization of a particular area in France resulted in
the transformation of the landscape over time, but also how it
meticulously wrecked it. His photographs document how the landscapes´
topography was shaped over time by its usage, and correlates this with
restoration proposals that might shape it in the future.
Roderick Hietbrink’s video installation ‘Vivarium’ is an oddly
pared-back exploration of the borders between nature and the built
environment, as processed by a Dutchman arriving in Sydney – by proxy
through the figure of a young female botanist.
Urban farming is addressed in the work of architect / artist Fritz Haeg,
whose video documents the process of transforming a front lawn into an
edible garden as part of his ongoing project ´Edible Estates´, and that
of Ingo Vetter & Annette Weisser, showing an interview with one of
the co-founders of the Detroit Agriculture Network called ´I am Farming
Humanity´.
Amy Balkin’s slide show ´Public Smog´ narrates the process of working
towards the opening of Public Smog, a shifting and fluctuating clean-air
park and attempts to nominate the atmosphere as a UNESCO World Heritage
Site.
Rebecca Sakoun shows ´Biotope 4´, a photograph of an abandoned, dying
plant in a deserted office space.
Servet Koçyiğit’s video ´Bird Village´ was shot in Kus Koyu (Bird
Village) in Turkey, that takes its name from the birdlike whistling that
the villagers often use in place of words. Whistled languages are
normally found and used in locations with abrupt relief created by
difficult mountainous terrain.
Juneau Projects presents ´Underneath the Floorboards of the Forest,
Empty Space´, a text-based computer game to visualize written passages
describing a series of interlocking environments gradually moving from
the countryside to the city, and ´Sewn to the Sky´, an interactive sound
and visual performance / installation continuing their exploration of
the interfaces between nature and technology.

The exhibitions are connected to a parallel trajectory in which the
notion of ecology is the focal point. This parallel trajectory consists
of an ongoing discussion with artists and curators, examining particular
artistic and curatorial practices from the perspective of ecology, as a
strategy rather then a ‘thematic’. This is in line with what feminist
philosopher Lorraine Code indicates in her recent publication
‘Ecological Thinking – the politics of epistemic location’: “ecological
thinking is not simply thinking about ecology or about the environment
(…). It is a revisioned mode of engagement with knowledge, subjectivity,
politics, ethics, science, citizenship, and agency that pervades and
reconfigures theory and practice.”
The discussion text can be found on www.smartprojectspace.net and is
also open for commentary and contributions by visitors. The discussion
will eventually be published on our [smart project space’s] website .
Comments can be sent to hilde@smartprojectspace.net.
Exhibition visitors can also make comments on the spot by making use of
the internet facility in our reading room, which in the framework of
this exhibition contains books on art, nature and ecology.