Sat Upon the Spirit's Shoulder, 2024. From the series 'Views of Nature'
Sat Upon the Spirit's Shoulder, 2024. From the series 'Views of Nature'

VIEWS OF NATURE, 2024 (Ongoing)


A recurring argument in literature on the relationship between humans and nature is how rationalisation - categorising, quantifying, and classifying nature - has led to alienation. Man studies, manages, and controls nature, rather than being part of it. Whereas 19th-century nature scientist Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) planted the first seeds for ecology as a science, his approach rested on wonder for the beauty and coherence of nature, and the importance of feeling and imagination in conveying it. Tirelessly, Von Humboldt studied nature, in awe of complexity and with an eye for aesthetics, emphasising the interconnectedness: the world is one big ecosystem in which everything is interconnected, he argued, and humans endanger this through their actions.

Inspired by Von Humboldt's essays of the same name, 'Views of Nature' (2024) visualises his narrative in a fictional travel documentation. Using excerpts from his texts as titles and vantage points for the works, I visualise what Von Humboldt could only describe. Through an interplay of taxidermy and landscape work, a stark contrast is created that emphasises the scarcity of authentic, untouched nature. Through cyanotypes, known as a documentation tool for botanists, I resist the rationalisation of nature and illuminate an opposing narrative of mysticism and wonder.