NO MOTHER NATURE
For our own sake, humans use metaphors to objectify reality and to condense complex concepts. In this process, we seek general and emotional metaphors to dramatise and popularise the concepts and these metaphors tend to conform to a wide range of cultures and mythical images.
As Latour argued, fictive or speculative concepts are created through this process, and these rhetorical devices consciously and unconsciously influence our way of thinking. We should not overlook that the consequences of this can be more dangerous as these terms are not derived from empirical evidence or knowledge and thus they can distort reality.
My work aims to tackle the term 'Mother Nature'. Humanity has been anthropomorphizing nature by calling it "mother" for a myriad of times. The Western dichotomy further solidified this symbolic structure. Nature was forced into the dualistic model with notions of nature–culture, wilderness–civilisation, man-woman. As a result of the Cartesian separation and other dualisms associated with a patriarchal view, nature has been standardised as a gentle and loving female. ‘Gaia’, an example of inheriting this language of dominance, reinforces the hierarchical traditions of patriarchal dualism that continuously objectifies women and nature.
Based on this rhetoric concept, humanity endowed itself with control over the earth. "Mother Nature" is the result of a combination of dualism, male-dominated perspective, and related power structures. This term has been used as a metaphorical instrument that justifies the widespread destruction and exploitation of mankind in nature.
Nature, the ‘graceful mother,’ will not betray us. No matter how much we make trouble, our mother will embrace and heal us.
How should we weave the post-pandemic world? What kind of shift in thinking should we start with? To conceive nature in ways that are not anthropomorphic or sexist could be a critical transition for the dismantling of our fixated discourses on nature. The myth and dogma associated with Mother Nature are at stake. We have to admit that is how we exploited and endangered the earth.
Nature is not an embracing mother, but a dynamic, random, and heterogeneous being that exists in the constant flux. My work, ‘NO MOTHER NATURE’, captures this image of the Earth. We must accept that many of nature’s algorithms are beyond full human comprehension, and indeed marvel at such mystery. As part of media art programme <INSCAPE: Voyage to Hidden Landscape>, ‘NO MOTHER NATURE’ generates an immersive digital mural on the large-scale facade of Paradise Art Garden, where we can share this story in a public space. I illustrate various landscapes as terra incognita and mare incognitum, which are maginificent, but at the same time dangerous and precarious. In the last part of the work, the woman's body is submerging into deep water. This is to avoid the sexist interpretation of nature and to fathom nature as a dynamic force that can swallow humanity in just one moment. There is ‘No Mother Nature.’
This project has been commissioned by Paradise Art Space, as part of
INSCAPE: VOYAGE TO HIDDEN LANDSCAPE, new media art festival programme
No Mother Nature was premiered on 23 Oct 2021
with Yiyun Kang and Herman Kolgen's media facade work
Curated by Jay Bang
Co-production with ELKTRA Montreal
NO MOTHER NATURE, 2021
Large-scale Media facade piece in public space, 6 min, Sound
Commissioned by Paradise Art Space, Korea