Distant Nature


Curator: Katarína Balúnová

“Where did we ever get the strange idea that nature — as opposed to culture — is ahistorical and timeless? We are far too impressed by our own cleverness and self-consciousness… We need to stop telling ourselves the same old anthropocentric bedtime stories.”

— Steven Shaviro

Artists: Jiří Černický (CZ), Anton Čierny (SK), Josef Dabernig (AT), Endre Koronczi (HU), Oto Hudec (SK), Richard Kitta (SK), Šárka Koudelová (CZ), Zuzana Križalkovičová (SK), Jan Pfeiffer (CZ), Plateauresidue (SI), Dejan Radovanovic (RS), Oliver Ressler (AT), Pavla Sceranková (CZ), Svetlana Spirina (RU), Magda Tothova (DE), Moira Zoitl & Sajan Mani (AT, IN), Vanessa White (AU)

The international art film and video project Distant Nature will take place simultaneously in three different cities – Vienna, Prague and Košice.

What is our relationship to nature? The concept of nature is notoriously equivocal, the return to nature in many aspects problematic and the questions of how to widely protect the nature from us, who are part of it, not easy to be answered. Reinterpretation and reconstruction of our relationship to nature is related to economic, social, political and cultural changes over time.

In a much cited essay on the historical roots of the environmental crisis, historian Lynn White argued that the main strands of Judeo-Christian thinking had encouraged the overexploitation of nature by maintaining the superiority of humans over all other forms of life on earth, and by depicting all of nature as created for the use of humans. The contemporary discovery of nature’s perishability follows the modern collapse of western metaphysics. Although potentially liberating this modern discovery simultaneously invites doubt about our societies’ normative frameworks. The current tendency is rather to seek symbiosis with nature than domination and control.

Criticism of dominance over nature and / or the (negative) impact of socio-political and technological development on the environment is included in the works of the artists Anton Čierny, Endre Koronczi, Oto Hudec, Plateauresidue, Oliver Ressler and Magda Tothova, while the artists Jiří Černický, Richard Kitta, Jan Pfeiffer and Dejan Radovanovic record this impact without valuating the situation.

The artists Pavla Sceranková and Moira Zoitl & Sajan Mani deal with the impact of man on nature through the labour, what can be gardening as a relaxing weekend activity, as well as the transhistorical question of possession / dispossession of land.

An important part of the search and the establishing a relationship with the nature can be a corporal experience, from physical contact to immersion in nature. The artists Josef Dabernig, Šárka Koudelová, Zuzana Križalkovičová, Svetlana Spirina and Vanessa White depict body and nature in their works with different approaches, from a documentary record to an intimate statement.

The selection of more than 20 international art videos and films from 17 artists will be presented gradually, each with a span of several days, from June 5th to August 3rd, 2020. The screening directed to the public space will take place simultaneously in Knoll Galerie Wien, Fotograf Gallery Prague and MAO / DIG in K13 — Kasarne Kulturpark Košice.

— Jan Pfeiffer, Meadow of Time, 2019, video, 3 m 33 s (still)
— Svetlana Spirina, Adoptation to isolation, 2020 (still)