In the Anthropocene, processes of exploitation shape humanity’s relationship with nature. In the face of ecological crises, voices have emerged that question its legitimation. The exhibition Back to the Roots presents artistic positions that offer alternative views of ecological thinking, expanding the consciousness of earthly coexistence, thus overcoming the colonial past. In his seminal book Decolonizing Nature, the American art historian T. J. Demos calls for new ecological art that takes local, sociopolitical, and economic aspects into account.
June 8 – September 24, 2022
Gianni Jetzer and Martina Huber
Ecological knowledge passed on from one generation to the next has become a new point of reference in today’s debate. It points to the know-how that local peoples have acquired over long periods through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is site-specific and often includes relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes, and the rhythms of everyday life.
Karrabing Film Collective. The Family … and the Zombie.
A Tale Set in the Ancestral Future, 2021
On display at WE ARE AIA, “Back to the Roots”
These refer to non-empirical knowledge production systems, whose accuracy scientists often doubt.
Artist Tomás Saraceno rightly demands that we find out where this division comes from. Furthermore, he calls on us to “decolonize our thinking” by analyzing the complex web of relationships that shapes us.
Today, the destruction of the planet has affected society at its core. A new understanding is called for, that overcomes the dichotomy of nature and culture.
The American ecologist Timothy Morton radically asks for “ecology without nature”. To have a properly ecological view, we must abandon the idea of nature once and for all. Morton develops a fresh vocabulary for reading “environment” in terms of both content and form, showing that representations of nature inevitably become metaphysical.
Artists: Ravi Agarwal, Ambra Castagnetti, Wilson Diaz, Monica Ursina Jäger, Karrabing Film Collective, Hunter Longe, Maurice Maggi , Uriel Orlow, Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa, NGGAMDU.ORG in collaboration with Tomás Saraceno
This exhibition and the educational program was realized thanks to the generous support of the City of Zurich Kultur, Max Kohler Stiftung and Temperatio Stiftung.
Ambra Castagnetti – Honey, 2021, Back to the Roots, WE ARE AIA Space, Photo by Léa Jullien
Hunter Longe, Oxidation Path II (Copper), 2022, Back to the Roots, WE ARE AIA Space, Photo by Léa Jullien