PHANTASM

[installation at Hošek Contemporary, Berlin]

Phantasm is a video art project presenting various surreal scenes that explore the notions of ‘nature’ and ‘the natural’. The project involves various video projections in the main exhibition space of Hošek Contemporary, an old cargo boat floating on the River Spree.

In Phantasm the audience is invited to consider the complex relationships that we as humans have with the concept of ‘nature’. It is a relationship where often nature is perceived as wild and unpredictable, something to escape from and have mastery over. At the same time however, it is also framed as an idyllic and nourishing place that we need to ‘get back in touch with’.

Further complexity around the idea of ‘nature’ is then added once labels such as ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ are applied to people, ideas, actions and inventions. What is left is a concept of ‘nature’ that is full of contradiction and confusion, where the lines between what is considered ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’, the human world and the natural world are constantly blurred. This confused state acts as the starting point for the artists in Phantasm.

 

In this project the artists have brought together original footage sourced from Europe, Asia and Australia, alongside found footage and 3D objects. Each of these elements come together to form an abstract narrative spanning science, technology and culture. This narrative has been constructed through research into the curious ways that humans interact with and consider nature. Some of the ideas presented are the recent developments in human cloning, the ’cloud seeding’ technology that allows artificial influence the weather, the health and beauty industry’s pressure to look and eat ‘natural’ as well as our manipulation of animals to act as food, friends, religious icons, entertainment and space explorers. When each of these layers, alongside various others, are considered alongside one another it highlights the confusion, complexity and contradiction at the heart of ‘nature’.

Phantasm is a collaboration with Artist Anne Fehres which happened at Hošek Contemporary in Berlin.

The exhibition notes can be found here.

© 2019 

LUKE CONROY

good on you for coming this far, and reading this.