It's easy to forget the tranquility of nature in a bustling city like London, though its conurbation is privy to a number of lush, green spaces. Like most visitors, I'd never been inside a Sequoia tree – quoted as the biggest living organism in the world by Marshmallow Laser Feast, the creators behind virtual reality experience We Live in an Ocean of Air. With its ethereal title and sleek promotional material, I'm curious to find out whether the experience truly “illuminates the invisible – but fundamental – connections between human and natural worlds,” as described by the exhibition blurb.
While the Haus de Kulturen de Welt's The Anthropocene Project was developed in 2013/14, its website remains an active hub for past, current and future research activities on this indefinable epoch. The project continues to host lectures and conferences; details of which can be found online. The Anthropocene Project combines research from art and science to better define the proposed current geological era - the first on Earth to be caused by human activities.
"Our notion of nature is now out of date. Humanity forms nature. This is the core premise of the Anthropocene thesis, announcing a paradigm shift in the natural sciences as well as providing new models for culture, politics, and everyday life. In a two-year project (2013/2014), HKW explored the hypothesis’ manifold implications for the sciences and arts."
In an era where technology rules the day, every day, when does humanity observe, experience and exist through physicality? As I'm writing this post, I'm glued to my computer screen; recollecting a physical encounter between my body and nature by lending my words to an intangible coding system. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Space, Place and Sensations, a seminar attached to Odyssean: Topographies at Hestercombe, Taunton - the culmination of four artists' residences undertaken in the Orkney Isles.
Following a morning of lectures delivered by Harriet Hawkins and John Wylie on land experience, Natasha Rosling (one of the four Odyssean: Topographies artists) and collaborator Vilma Luostarinen reinvigorated our physical selves through a feast of earth- and ocean-inspired food. Titled Edible Coastlines, the lunch entwined the physical and the cognitive; encouraging our minds to forge new, imaginary spaces within the caverns of our bodies through the tactile sensations of touch, texture and taste, and the optics of colour and form.