Artistic Ways of Understanding and Interacting with Nature
Could art help create a more ecological society? In the 1960s Land Art suggested a new relationship with nature. Artists left the art gallery and museums to produce their work in nature itself, many times in remote places such as deserts, mountains or even at the poles of the Earth. In doing so, artistic production went as far as to organize the landscape, rather than represent it, as had been the tradition. In doing so, artists had to deal with the natural elements such as land, water, earth, air, and, more importantly, the way they interacted with each other. As a result, art has contributed to an increased awareness of Earth dynamics and its complexity. Nowadays, art with an ecological purpose, whether attempting to preserve resources or to rehabilitate degraded landscapes, works together with other agents in the improvement of the environment. Well known examples are the rehabilitation of a lake such as that of Leonhardt Lagoon by Patricia Johanson, the study of a river system such as “The Lagoon Cycle” by The Harrison, the recreation of a prehistoric landscape such as “Time Landscape” by Alan Sonfist, the collective plantation such as “7000 Eichen” by Beuys or the evocation of season cycles with leaves by Goldsworthy. Other arts try to emulate nature or include nature in the “text” such as the Elm dance, Rautavaara’s inclusion of migratory bird song in his “Cantus Arcticus” or Hovhaness’ use of whale sounds in his compositions.
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