HUMAN NATURE investigates the human colonisation of outdoor and natural-seeming environments for the purpose of leisure.
By the year 2020, it is projected that 80% of Europeans will be living in urban environments. We are now living in a 'post-natural' world in which ‘progress’ demands the mediated, virtual world of the urban consumer, says writer Robert Macfarlane. In this Anthropocene epoch, visitors to the countryside express their post-natural relationship with the environment in the form of a consumer experience of rural spaces for well-being, sport, and leisure.
Social anthropologists claim the countryside experience to be a complex blend of physical and mental sensory experience which is then influenced by social or cultural mythologies. In this way visitors 'stage' the countryside, physically experiencing its symbolic content in their attempt to experience nature.
Collecting material at popular locations historically associated with the picturesque, the project explores human endeavour and negotiation of these natural spaces, in the context of the contemporary urban and anthropocentric world view. It also challenges the traditional notion of the picturesque, revealing the exploitation and commoditisation of natural space in the pursuit of leisure and self-definition.
The project combines expansive theatrical tableaux captured on 48 x 60” chromogenic prints which release a wealth of socio-cultural detail, interspersed with environmental portraits of found characters, together revealing an attempt to access the natural world, the seeking of alternatives to the structured rhythms of daily life.
Large format camera, chromagenic prints 48 x 60”.
— Tariq Goddard, Repeater Books