Naturecolony — an exhibition-led inquiry into the colonial history of the market
In layers of history, layers of biology, layers of naturecultures, complexity is the name of our game. We are both the freedom-hungry offspring of conquest, products of white settler colonies, leaping over hurdles and crawling through tunnels on the playing field.
— Donna J. Haraway
When it colonized countries and cultures of the world, Europe first colonized nature. The metamorphosis of the perception of nature during the scientific and industrial revolutions is illustrated by the fact that the European way of thinking saw “nature” not as an inherently organized living system but merely as raw materials, which needed to be administered to be exploited by Man.
— Vandana Shiva
Among her many pathbreaking concepts, the renowned feminist philosopher of science Donna J. Haraway introduces readers to the theory of “naturecultures” in her influential 2008 publication When Species Meet. For Haraway, there can be no articulation of nature that does not rely on a corresponding culture, and vice versa. From this perspective, it is necessary to understand various “naturecultures” as localized, historical entanglements that weave together the affordances and contingencies of nature and the innovations and speculations of culture.
The international exhibition cycle Naturecolony recognizes the importance of Haraway’s concept of “naturecultures,” while also drawing on the work of Indian scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva to attend more thoroughly to the colonial-scientific will to knowledge that has radically transformed the apparent natures of the Anthropocene. Stimulated by an ongoing engagement with contemporary art practices, the curatorial strategy of Naturecolony works to activate both aesthetic and scientific perspectives that reveal the colonial “Plantationocene” as a necessary point of departure for understanding current ecological crises.
Forthcoming instantiations of this project will be announced as they are confirmed.
Please contact the curators if your institution is interested in hosting an iteration of the exhibition.