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3rd Unit : 6th Study Group Session

3rd Unit : 6th Study Group Session

Historicization of Nature - Narrative of Environmental Art

The 6th Study Meeting, the 3rd Unit

On March 16, Itoh Takako (associate professor in the Faculty of Art and Design, University of Toyama) made a presentation entitled "Historicization of Nature?Narrative of Environmental Art."

Environmental art produces a work in a certain location using nature as the theme of the natural environment. In her report, however, it has been referring to the history of the location or the scenery to tell the story in recent years. Her presentation examined the latest environmental art and the natural environment as the theme of environmental art by discussing Sheepfolds by Andy Goldsworthy and Wooden Boulder and Ash Dome by David Nash.

Sheepfolds is a project to rebuild the many remnants of sheepfolds in Cumbria County, in the northern part of England. She pointed out that it connected the people living there again with the scenery and tradition, especially the history of sheep farming, which could provide an index for the relationship between nature, which has historical temporality, and human beings.

Ash Dome is a ring of ash trees he planted in 1977 to form a domed shape by pruning them every ten years. The work Wooden Boulder is a wooden sphere carved from a felled tree that is allowed to flow into the nearby stream to continue the record of its unintended journey in the natural environment. Both projects have been ongoing for more than 30 years. Itoh stated that they clearly exemplified the flow of time from birth to death?the historicity of nature.

The 6th Study Meeting, the 3rd Unit

What she pointed out was that the environmental art of the two artists indicated that the history of nature and that of culture were connected in complicated ways; thus, it would be impossible to experience them separately, reminding us that modern nature was no longer what circulates in the context of balance and order but what has a history in the irreversible stream of time like human beings who have a history in the context of the destiny to die. She concluded that we should promptly proceed to practical speculation on the relationship between nature and human beings.

After the presentation, enthusiastic discussion not only about environmental art, but also about contemporary art was held.