at Lewisham Arthouse
16th September 2020 to 21 September 2020
Everyone has a different view on wilderness and their own definition and relation to it. Nature Encapsulated aimed to explore the difficulty of defining wilderness in our current world and our ways to live within it. We aimed to bring an optimistic perspective on the preservation and utilisation of nature and hope to inspire and incite positivity. This exhibition was a recognition of the crucial importance of wilderness left on earth; the power of nature on the mind and emotional reactions to it; the possibilities of ethical utilisation of nature; and the positive impacts of protected areas on nature and the animal world.
Since the beginning of time, there has always been a dualism when thinking about Nature: On the one hand, nature is a way to escape and understand oneself, a place to find isolation and peace, somewhere unknown and untouched by human beings. Where nature, only, controls life. It is a way to escape and find oneself and to develop a relation where the non-human and human come together again.
On the other hand, there is this idea that wilderness is uncivilised, savage, and must be tamed. An empty space, i.e. a wild space, is something that needs to be filled with profitable and useful tools for human beings, a utilitarian conservation of Nature. This anthropocentric approach and way of seeing human beings as other than nature translates a clear sign of detachment from it but also a fear of wilderness and a desire to overcome and destroy it.
We exploited lands and forests, built rivers and lakes, suppress any dangers to human on natural sites, made sure our food comes in abundance regardless of its impacts. We domesticated nature and turned wilderness into controlled, safe and profitable territories, for our own wellbeing and comfort.
We need wilderness more than it needs us. We need to learn how to sustain instead of consume, how to adapt instead of impose.
Through this exhibition we wanted to show that there are still several places on earth where no man has set foot, but there are also preserved places where controlling nature proves to have a positive impact and can be managed to improve its state. Preserving those places is preserving some part of wilderness from human footprint, and preserving wilderness is preserving our future and survival. Nature is encapsulated, confined, closed in with us, in our home and cities as a reminder of her crucial importance for our mental and physical wellbeing.
We need to see and understand that nature is everywhere: from the majestic mountains of North Wales to the little flowers that sprout through the pavements in London’s streets. That understanding coupled with the acknowledgement that we are too, part of nature, and dependent of that system will only trigger responsible behaviours towards the environment.
Nature Encapsulated is an invitation for you to think more about wilderness and our way to interact with it. We want to question your thoughts and feelings about it, where do you stand and how do you help sustain it, if you do. Observe your reactions, thoughts, and emotions throughout your visit.