at edsvik art space

Stockholm - 28.04 / 22.07 2001

      [click in the pictures to zoom]

An installation by Ingrid Falk and Gustavo Aguerre
Featuring a sound composition by Tem-Tupac Aguerre


CONTRA-NATURA - A statement for the installation-

Each one of us has sat in a garden, or out in the forest playing with the idea of being in harmony with the “peaceful nature”.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The idea of a “peaceful nature” is just that, an idea, a cultural construction, a concept created by us to attain rest and relaxation when we need it most. To be in harmony with the nature would actually mean to be in state of constant fight, everywhere, and all the time.
We accept that animals do fight and do kill each other. The same goes for plants. Out there in your little vegetable garden, amongst the rows of carrots and tomatoes, there is a battle going on. A forest is a full-scale battlefield, but because the plants move in very, very slow motion and do not make sounds, we decided to classify them as “peaceful”. Africa looks very peaceful too in a satellite photograph.
Because the plants are stuck right there where they are born, they develops their own kind of offensive/defensive tactics. Mainly they use their own
biochemical weapons, but when it comes to close combat they also use strangulation, poisoning, amputation or starvation.
A tomato-plant is a devastating killer. If the plant in its neighborhood could make sounds while getting intoxicated with the tomato’s ethylene gas you would not like to sit around and listen to it and you definitely would not call it peaceful.

In each one of these boxes there is a fight going on. As usual business, the fight is about of getting control of the limited resources that guarantees the individuals survival. An interaction, or about forming a pact, can occur when fighting a major (common) enemy. Yet, when the resources are tight there is only one rule: to kill or be killed. So there goes your theory of “peaceful nature”. Sorry.

    This installation was done for the show Making Nature at Edsvik Art and Culture,situated in the former service buildings of a castle outside Stockholm, under direction of Maria Fridh. We occupied a small wooden house from the 18th century, earlier a bull's stale. Our project deals with the idea of Nature as a cultural construction where we place the "good", for our convenience.

Based in the statement here beside we place five glass boxes (terrariums) standing on the room and a wooden box hanging on a wall. In those boxes, in minimal environmental conditions there are different common plants, all producers of our food, but also natural enemies that use different tactics for conquering the living space, for example: sunflowers and tomatoes emit gas to destroy the plants in the neighbourhood, cucumbers and pumpkins strangle. In the boxes are fights for live and dead happening in very slow motion, even if they look quite pretty. In the back of the boxes are painted the arrows of the development of famous battles.

Nature isn't good. Nature isn't bad. Nature it is.


White beans vs. Cucumber vs. Peas

              Tomato vs Cucumber vs Peas  

Tomato vs. Cucumber


Sunflowers vs. Cucumber


Lentils vs. Pumpkin vs. Tomato

  ...and three month later, the winners are:            

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