Unnaturally reconnecting with nature.
For the technological generation, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to capture nature. Searching the #sunset on Instagram brings up 1, 407, 712 posts, and #nature_perfection another 2,256, 252. All this playing testimony to the fact that the natural wonders of the world hold us mesmerised everyday. I distinctly remember once when the heavens decided to rain down upon Pymble during one maths lesson. The teacher had to yell quite loudly to bring the class’ gazes away from the windows and back towards Pythagoras’ theorem. It’s hard to remove your eyes from the flickering flame of a fire, so easy to watch waves crash in on the sand, and it’s a simple amusement to cheer on rain drops as they race down the window.
Human beings love to seize nature and bring it closer, incorporate it into our homes and lives. Ironically, we cut flowers killing their life to have them in our homes. Isn’t that insane? Adoring something so much to the point of murder. Artist Peter Bottomley and Denise Bonapace play with this idea across a series called “Da morto a orto”, (playing on the pun also in Italian morto meaning dead and orto meaning vegetable garden). Bottomley and Bonapace assert the life plants bring, and instead of butchering them, they use the already lifeless furniture and homewears to bring plants alive and create a revived habit.
Not only do we want the beauty of the natural world within our homes but we also enjoy the experience it offers, and if we don’t have to leave our homes all the better right? Yen Chen Chang understands how exhausting it can be to walk to your local park, so he brings ‘The touch of breeze’ to you.
“The greenish and soft fluffy texture often gives people the associate feeling of grass and the relaxation moment while sitting outdoor in parks. Gently touching the grass as if you could also feel the cool breeze. The project aims to capture the sensations, and re-present them in an interactive way.
The carpet is a strokes sensor that controls a fan, and the harder you stroke on the grassy surface the stronger wind the fan generates.” – Yen Chen Chang
‘The tough of breeze’ is both witty and comical, but utterly outlandish considering it appears to be a genuine non-comedic product. Shuhei Hasado’s ‘Textured Geta’ comments on works such as Chang’s and how ‘developed’ and ‘protective’ society has become. By placing the ground textures, of grass, clay, dried pine needles and many others on the inner sole of the traditional Japanese shoes Hasado creates a bold proclamation. Sandals are worn at their most basic level for protection on the bottom of one’s foot. Hasando eliminates that protection by placing the contents and textures of the ground within the sandal, eliminating its original purpose, and reconnecting the sensory nerves of our feet with the ground.
“Shuhei Hasado has also used this tactile sense in his re-appropriated geta. The moss, wood, and many other textures of the geta cause one to use the sensory nerves on the bottom of their feet. These senses used to be very helpful to primitive man in identifying rich soil, creature population and more about his surroundings.”
Hasado furthermore brings to light how isolated from the natural world humans can be. We have the opportunity to connect with the ground every day the solution is as simple as popping outside and taking your shoes off, yet for us to truly appreciate the sensors on our feet and their capabilities an artist must create shoes which bring the experience to us. What once was primitive has now evolved to an unnatural discourse with nature.
Products and art give inordinate insight into the way humans have isolated and elevated themselves from the natural environment, which when you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, is a little bit preposterous.