Monday, May 4, 2009

After Human/Nature/Image

I feel that this class has greatly challenged and changed my notions of nature. At first I had no interest in the topic of nature and thought that I would struggle all semester with trying to stay engaged with the issues discussed in the class, but I quickly realized that the issues in Human/Nature/Image do pertain to me as well as everyone and everything else.  The most important thing that I will walk away with from this class is the notion that everything is "interconnected." I think that my main problem at first was that I defined nature very narrowly-nature is the trees, sky, water, flowers, birds, ect... and forgot about the fact that we are also apart of nature. This is why I enjoyed the Edward O Winston Biophilia article some much because for the first time I explored my own relationship with nature and it really challenged my definition of nature. The Biophilia article was also an entrance point for me to start examining how my photographs fit into the discussion of Human/Nature/Image. I also enjoyed that many of the topics/theories discussed in the class were relevant to other cultural/political topics, including identity politics, gender, class, race, ect...which also goes to show how interconnected these issues are.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

After Nature - Week 13

What is "after nature"? 

Curator Massimiliano Gioni, states the exhibition After Nature "surveys  a landscape of wildness and ruins, darkened by certain is a story of abandonment, regression, and rapture-an epic of humanity and nature coming apart under the pressure of obscure forces and not-so-distant environmental disasters...the exhibition depicts a universe in which humankind is being eclipsed and new ecological systems struggle to find a precarious balance." The title After Nature  is so thought provoking however I don't think that this exhibition lives up to the title, and is rather predictable. The overriding post-apocalyptic theme of the exhibition is the most obvious way of thinking about what comes after nature. Yes man has dominated and devastated the environment and I think that simply showing nature's reclamation of the land does not discuss the "real" issues at hand. I understand that Gioni is interested in blurring the lines between fiction and reality, however the show appears to be more fiction then reality. 

With all this said I do feel that there are a few artists/pieces that really resonate with me and some of the ideas discussed in the class thus far. The first artist that I am drawn to is William Christenberry, whose work I never really looked at for more than it's aesthetic beauty. On one hand William Christenberry's series of photographs, which pictures a shack overrun by kudzu, exactly depicts what I mentioned above and said was the most obvious , nature reclaiming itself.  However after hearing Chritenberry discuss this piece it became more than just nature reclaiming what man has created, it became autobiographical and historically significant. I found Christenberry's childhood story about how he feared the Kudzu endearing, and it made me think about my own relationship with nature. Christenberry also discussed how the Kudzu is known to grow rampantly, enveloping everything that is around it (he particularly mentions trees), and how it will will choke these tree's to death. I found this part to be extremely thought provoking because instead of thinking only of man's suffocation of the land, Christenberry points out that "nature" is destroying "nature." This brings us back to what we define as nature, nature is something that is outside of ourselves, and I think that many pieces in this show go along with the common belief that we are outside of nature (for example Berlinde De Bruyckere's sculpture which depicts a tree overtaking a human body.) I think that it is this belief that humans are separate from nature that leads people to not care about nature. By having an exhibition, which attempts to show the reality of our effects on the environment as well as where we fit into nature/or what nature would be like without our existence, that is so crucial that it is somewhat rooted in the "real" because when it becomes to fantastic people stop caring.

Instead of showing the battle between man and nature, in which one must win, I think it is time that we show our interconnectedness and co-existence with nature. I don't know why we haven't mentioned the work of Ana Mendieta this semester, but the figurative pieces in this exhibition (Paweł Althamer, Self-portraits and Berlinde De Bruyckere, Robin V) made me think of her work. I have always been drawn to Mendieta's Siluettas, unlike the two artist mentioned above her work is about the way her body melds/becomes apart of nature, she is literally leaving her imprint and nature and nature on her. Her work also historically looks at our relationship with nature as a symbol of spirituality.  I think that history is one of the most important, if not the most important thing, to think about when discussing after nature or post-nature. For me after nature, or what I am calling post-nature is a recognition of our historical connection to the land, as a way to understand our relationship to nature, we must no where we came from to understand where we must go.

Ana Mendieta Siluetta

Paweł Althamer, Self-portrait

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Robin V

Zoe Leonard's Tree and Maurizio Cattelan's Untitled (horse) also resonated with me because I felt that these two pieces were  sincere and sad and felt the most "real" to me (as in it could happen). Leonard's piece reminds me of Annette Messager's Boarders, because Leonard has taken a dead tree and given it supports so that it could again stand upright. It is sad to think about the reality of this piece, a day when all the trees have died/fallen and we must suspend them in order fro them to be upright, this piece also references Biophilia. Though I have not seen either Leonard's or Cattelan's pieces in person I think the experience of seeing them in person would be heartbreaking, can you imagine a full sized horse attached to the wall above you or a tree suspended in a gallery and detached from its natural environment? These two sculptures reveal the damage we cause as humans to nature (destroy nature) and our desire to preserve it.

Zoe Leonard Tree

Maurizio Cattelan Untitled

Monday, April 20, 2009

The transformation of space into place and land into landscape - week 12

In Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent William L. Fox explores how the "human mind transforms space into place, or land into landscape." In this article Fox concentrates on large, unfamiliar, empty spaces/environments where we have difficulty understanding our personal scale in space and time. He is also interested in the larger topic of "how we use cultural means to augment our neurobiology in order to overcome the perceptual difficulties we experience when exploring large spaces." 

How does the human mind transform space into place and land into landscape? Fox begins by discussing the basic rules of visions, in which our "visual sensory system (eyes, optic nerve , and various portions of the brain) parses information through a series of steps meant to eliminate most of what we see, arriving at a small set of patterns such as lines, edges, and contrast." Fox suggests that it is these visual rules that force us to distinguish figure and ground, this is done through mentally constructing continuous lines, or contours, which are assembled into basic geometric shapes. Therefore we understand a place on our familiarity with these contours. However Fox raises the question of what happens when these visual cues do not exist in a space, for example during the white-out conditions of the Antarctic? Fox states, "In the Antarctic there are no familiar salient features in the landscape and your eye simply wanders, looking for something, anything, that your mind can recognize." He uses to terms to explain this experience the first being visual dissonance described as something that we didn't expect to see which leads us to have to stare at the unexpected sight for a long time in order to "believe our eyes." The second term he uses is cognitive dissonance which is when we see something we don't understand and then act inappropriately in response. Fox raises the question, "What happens when we enter a place lacking the visual cues to which we have adapted ourselves, such as the Antarctic? He answers simply, "we get lost." It is this disorientation/ lack of visual cues within the landscape, as well as our visual inability to take all of the landscape in at once, that has lead us to create maps. We view the landscape as a set of grids that "reduce the world by formula to a common space." 

What is the relationship of mapping to landscape art? Fox asserts  "landscape art is itself a mapping activity, a way of getting us from the familiar "here" to the unfamiliar "there." In contemporary photography and art the "ariel view" has become a huge a fad, which I didn't quite understand beyond its aesthetic value and thought was getting a bit overdone, however I think Fox puts a new perspective on the ariel view.  The grid that is created through the ariel view both familiarizes us with the landscape because it breaks it down into a set of geometric patterns that we understand (making it universal), but also makes the place completely unfamiliar because we cannot discern what/where the place is. I think that it is this tension between the "familiar" and the "unfamiliar" that I find most interesting and can be applied to any genre, because it speaks of how we experience things.  

A grid of the ariel photographs of Terry Evans, Subhankar Banerjee, David Maisel, and Edward Burtynsky

When I reading this weeks Fox's article I kept thinking about the work of Mark Bradford, who collages found materials from the street, creating a map like grid of the landscape. 
Bradford's use of gesture and mark-making encapsulates the dissonance and excitement of a metropolitan landscape, and creates a tension between the familiar and unfamiliar. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Truth and Landscape - Week 11

Robert Adams begins his essay Truth and Landscape with a description of how when travelers reach the foothills west of Denver they often stop to be photographed against the Great Plains or Continental Divide, an act that is characteristic of the "fondness that Americans traditionally have shown of their geography." Adams goes on to assert that this affection for the land may be ending, which he suggests is evident in the architecture of buildings which offer few views of the outdoors. The designers of these buildings say the reasoning for this is because it protects office furnishings from the sun, adds retail display space, and makes possible uniform lighting, however Adams questions this reasoning. Adam suggests that maybe the reason for this is because "scenic grandeur is today sometimes painful." I found this statement very compelling because it is not that we no longer have affection for the landscape, as it is hypothesized that we have a strong desire for nature, but rather that it is our imposition on the landscape that has caused our lack of affection.  The view of the landscape is not the beautiful and wild place that we perceive it to be, but rather it is scattered with liter and human impositions. Adam asserts, "Unspoiled places sadden us because they are, in an important sense no longer true," he then raises the question - "Is it possible for art to be more than lies? 

The photograph on top is of the litter that is scattered around the viewing platform at Niagara Falls, the image on the bottom is a "typical" view of the grandeur of Niagara Falls, Does one of these images hold more truth than the other? What is truth in photography? Does truth exist?

I don't think I have ever heard anyone question the truth of a landscape picture, because it is as "the name implies a record of place." Adams states that landscape pictures can offer us three verties: geography, autobiography, and metaphor. I think that what we often forget when we look at landscape photography is that there is always a subjective aspect to it, and it is this subjectivity or the hand of the photographer that makes the view more compelling. This made me think of the discussion we had in class week about Subhankar Banerjee's loon photographs and what makes his images art when similar images depicted in national geographic are not seen as art. What makes Banerjee's photographs move out of the national geographic realm is that he is not just a distant observer his photographs combine geography, autobiography, and metaphor to reveal his hand. I think this is the one thing that we forgot when viewing landscape photographs is that they are highly constructed just like all photographs. 

By simply placing a white backdrop behind a tree Myoung Ho Lee raises  questions of representation, truth, landscape and art that are discussed in this weeks articles. Does it take placing a white backdrop behind a tree to expose the subjectivity of the artist? 


Monday, April 6, 2009

Subhankar Banerjee - Week 10

Over the last three years of grad school I think I have heard the question : Can a photograph/photographic series create change? at least 20 times.  Some people argue that photographs don't have the power to change anything, while others believe that they have and can create change. I think the answer to this question is so obvious, photographs can and do create change, as proven by the censorship of Subhankar Banerjee photographs, as well as many others including Robert Mapplethorpe and Andreas Serrano, the real question is to what extent can it create change.  In the contemporary art world the term "change" has become as problematic as the term "beauty," (or in connection to our class the term nature)  and I think this becomes very obvious after reading Reframing the Last Frontier / Resource Wars  and hearing Mr. Banerjee's lecture. If anything I think that the reading and lecture raised as many, if not more  questions about the role/classification  of art, as it did issues of environmentalism. 

Here are some of the statements / ideas that I found most compelling:

Is art that is based on emotion, feeling, and beauty not smart art? 
What is the goal of environmental art? 
In the Finis Dunaway article raises the question what is nature in its most authentic state? and do we have to travel to the "wilderness" to experience it? 
What is the relationship between text and image? Does text take away from aesthetics? Do aesthetics make something less political? 

I also found it very interesting when Banerjee stated that it wasn't important whether his photographs/text were truth or fiction, but rather what was important was that they asked questions. This statement really stuck with me because it  seems as though artists who create work of a political nature are suppose to have/show the answers and when they don't have the answers they are ridiculed. Can Banerjee's photographs really stop drilling in the Arctic and preserve the land? That is a question that I am not sure can be answered but it did make people stop and think about it, even if just for a minute, and I think that has to count for something. Change comes from questioning, and it is through this questioning that artists create change. 


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe- Week 9

  In her essay The Comprehensivist: Buckminster Fuller and Contemporary Artists  Elizabeth Smith states, " the wide range of ideas and achievements associated with Buckminster Fuller- Utopian, visionary thinking about systems and their interconnectedness, the structural and aesthetic manifestations of integrity, the relationship between pragmatism and abstract concepts, and the potential of human beings as driving forces of change-resonates in current and recent contemporary art practice." In this essay Smith considers several examples of shared intuitions and/or affinities between Fuller and various artists including: Olafur Eliasson, Irit, Batsry, Pedro Reyes, Josiah Mcelhney, Andrea Zittel, N55, and Sarah Sze. 

Click image to enlarge

The one thing that I find most interesting about Buckminster Fuller as well as the work of several of the artists listed above is their constant inquiry and investigation into certain ideas and questions about human existence, in which the end result is less about a finished piece of "artwork" and more about the process of discovery.  I am most intrigued by the work of Andrea Zittel and her commitment to using her life as the model for her designs. Unlike  the artists mentioned in this essay Zittel takes a documentary/performative approach to her work, in which she actually "uses her body to test the authenticity of her art to the world." Zittel's work seeks to understand human needs and investigates the psychological/emotional effects that are associated with living in these minimal spaces. This work raises the question, " Is it possible to create one piece/space that can satisfy all human needs? 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Manifest Destiny / Manifest Responsibility - Week 8

This Weeks readings from the Manifest Destiny/Manifest Responsibility: Environmentalism and the Art of the American Landscpae exhibition and catalogue "traces the links and transitions between the various ideas about the land that have most shaped American History from first contact to the present." In The Cultural Reputations of Nature in American History Michael S Hogue states, "our changing ideas about nature, and the various ways we have given form to those ideas, are key to understanding our history and our national character...Nature and nation mutually implicate one another in American History." Hogue goes on to quote environmental historian Roderick Nash who argued that "Wilderness was the basic ingredient of American Culture. From the raw materials of the physical wilderness , Americans built a civilzation. With the idea of wildereness they sought to give their civilization identity and meaning." I found this statement to be particularly compeling because it suggests that nature is more than just a backdrop that history takes place on but rather that nature itself is apart of our history. Thinking of nature as more than merely a backdrop suggests a shift from the notion, of  "humans apart from nature" to "humans as apart of nature."  

Below is a map of humans response to Nature throughout History 

click image to enlarge

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 7- Presentation

For two years I have been photographing my father, sister and two brothers as they cope with my mother's depression. Not once in those two years have I ever thought about nature, nor did I think that I would ever actually address anything pertaining to nature within the images. However after reading the Edward O. Winston and Stephen R Kellert articles on Biophilia my whole notion of what nature is shifted. What I have realized is that this whole time I have been photographing my families relationship to nature without even knowing it. For my presentation I will discuss my work as it relates to the biophilia hypothesis. 

While gathering research  for this presentation I came across some great books/articles on biophilia and mental health which I was very excited about because of my personal interest in mental illness. These findings have lead me to want to explore the relationship between biophilia and mental illness for my final paper. 

I don't want to give away my presentation, but here are some of the photographs I will be discussing. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Death of Environmentalism - Week 6

Children rummaging through garbage in the slums of India,  Environmental issue? 

In The Death of the Environmentalism Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus challenge the modern environmental movement and create a new dialogue to help advance the future of environmentalism. The first issue they challenge is the narrow defining of what is "environmental."  Shellenberger and Nordhaus suggest that the problem is that "the environment" is defined as a "thing" that needs protecting, they state: "thinking of the environment as a "thing" has had an enormous implications for how environmentalists conduct their politics. The three-part strategic framework for environmental policy-making hasn't changed in 40 years: 1st define a problem as "environmental", 2nd craft a technical remedy, 3rd sell the technical proposal to legislators through a variety of tactics, such as lobbying , advertising, and public relations." They go on to argue that this narrowing defining of "the environment" as a thing that needs to be fixed leads to equally narrow solutions, such as energy saving light bulbs, hybrid cars, and more efficient appliances. However these things do not advance the worldview of environmentalism or solve any issues.

Shellenberger and Nordhaus suggest that we should challenge what does and doesn't get counted as "environmentalism." They raise the questions "why is a human-made phenomenon like global warming -which may kill hundreds of millions of human beings over the next century-considered "environmental"? Why are poverty and war not considered environmental problems while global warming is? What are the implications of framing global warming as environmental problem-and handing off the responsibility for dealing the it to environmentalists?." (pg.12) Susan Clark states, "when we use the term environment it makes it seem as if the problem is out there and we need to fix it...The problem is not external to us; it's us. It's a human problem having to do with how we organize our society. This old way of thinking isn't anyones fault, but its is our responsibility to change." (pg.12)

It is this questioning that I found to be the most interesting and thought provoking in the article because it suggests that environmental issues are not purely based on "sound science" but rather on culture. Shellenberger and Nordhaus include a great quote by the Sierra Club founder John Muir, which also appears in the article Every Corner is Alive, that reads, " when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." This quote articulates Shellenberger and Nordhaus argument that "environmental" have more than just one cause but are rather the result of many things that are connected, they write: "the problem is that once you identify something as the root cause, you have little reason to look for even deeper causes or connections with other root causes." (pg.15)

One issue that is stressed throughout the article as well in contemporary media and writings on the environment is Americans disinterest in "environmental" issues.   However it is not that people don't care about the environment but that they have so many other things that need immediate attention in their lives. Many of the green solutions don't apply to most middle to lower-class Americans because of the high costs of these "gadgets" and the inaccessibility of them. Money appears to be one giant issue when dealing with shifts in helping to protect the environment, but how do we overcome that? I found the amount that G.M. pays for health care a year was astounding ($4.8 billion) and the suggestion by Shellenberger and Nordhaus that if there was free health care G.M. could put that money to creating a more eco-friendly industry. This examination proved that everything is linked and if we want to save the "environment" we must stop defining it so narrowly and look at the larger issues. In many ways health care, and poverty are just as much of environmental issue as global warming because they are all effecting the environment in which we live.    

After reading this article its interesting to think about arts role in environmental issues because they are so much more complex than I think art could ever reveal. I do however believe that art can expose/question some of these issues. Eliot Porter and Edward Burtynsky are a good comparison because of the different approaches they take towards exposing environmenatl issues. Where Porter photographs the landscape as an attempt to preserve/protect its beauty, placing emphasis on the ordinary,  Burtynsky photographs the landscape to expose the effects of man and places the emphasis on the extraordinary. It is interesting to see how similar their style is, both make use of the full frame "in which there is no subject and background, every corner is alive." (Every Corner is Alive, pg .241) In Every Corner is Alive Rebecca Solnit suggests that this what an ecological aesthetic might look like because it refers back to the first principle of ecology that "everything is connected to everything else, all parts of a system have equal value." The form of Porter's and Burtynsky's photographs mimic this notion. I think that both Porter's and Burtynsky's photographs have had a significant effect on the way that people view the environment, but I'm not sure to what extent. I think these artist raise the question of whether a beautiful photograph is enough?

Eliot Porter

Edward Burtynsky

I think the work of Ghanian artist El Anatsui, who creates sculptures from recycled trash. Unlike Porter and Burtynsky, whose art preserves and reveals issues of the enivronment, Anatusi "works with what his environment throws at him." The raw materials of Anatsui's work have a profound impact on the West African societies that use, reuse and discard them. Several of his metal cloths (pictured below) are constructed with aluminum wrappings from the tops of bottles from locla distillaries. Drawing on the aesthetic traditions of his native Ghana and Nigeria, Anatsui's work engage the cultural, social, and economic histories of West Africa. His pieces provide a commentary on globaliztion, consumerism, waste and the transience of people's lives in West Africa and beyond. Anatsui's sculptures suggest both literally and metaphorically that everything is linked and interconnected. I think that Anatsui's work is much more progressive, than Porter's and Burtynsky's because it creates a dialogue between many environmenatl issues rather than focusing on the environment as one "thing"... nature

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Like a bird on the wire...-Week 5

                                                                               My Mother with a Parrot

In his essay A Bird Tapestry, written for the Birdspace exhibition, David S. Rubin examines the many ways that artists, both classical and contemporary, incorporate birds into their work. In the essay  Rubin states, " whether scrutinized in every detail or elevated as symbols for something profound or noble, birds have an impressive track record at holding the human attention span captive." But what is it that draws humans to birds? Rubin suggests the reason for this is that people see birds as part of humanity, which leads back to the notion of biophilia.  In many ways the Birdspace exhibition is a typology of Biophilia values, from humans utilitarian to negatvistic relationship with birds. 

There were several artists/ideas that I particularly enjoyed, the first being Ernesto Pujol's use of birds and their predicaments as metaphors for the temporality of life. Pujol states, " Life is fragile, vulnerable. And perhaps because it easier to talk about the short life of birds, and how they die from one moment to the next, I chose the visual essay as a metaphor for the brevity of human existence and the shock of death." Click link to view Pujol's installation The Silence of Songbirds

This statement by Pujol made me think about this photograph that I took at my mother's house a few months ago. 

Sitting on top of the television are my step-grandfather's ashes, a fake flower arrangement, the ashes of my mother's dog (Snickers), and the ashes of her bird(Pedro). In this photograph Snicker's and Pedro's ashes are equally as important as my step-grandfather's, which symbolizes not only the temporality of life for all species, but also the similarities that we have to other species, we all live and die. 

I also really enjoyed Annette Messager's series of stuffed sparrows swaddled in garments, entitled The Boarders. For this series Messager knits garments for the sparrows much like a mother would knit a blanket/booties for her child. The sparrows therefore become surrogates for children, evoking in Messager's words the "growing pains" of "childhood." I was very touched by this piece and it made me think of  Hemmingway's six word story, " For sale: baby shoes, never worn." There is a deep sadness in the metaphor of knitting a garment for the dead sparrow (which represents a child) and all that it implies.

                                       Annette Messager, The Boarders

The final artist that stands out to me is Roni Horn  and her use of the bird to explore identity. Horn having  grown up with an androgynous name is conscious of mistaken assumptions that can be made when based on person's name. This experience is reflected in her photographic diptychs which pair very similar photographs of the back of a taxidermy birds heads. The subtle lighting differences between the images make it difficult for viewers to determine if they are looking at one bird, or two different ones. The birds are void of any defining male/female characteristics, or rather any characteristics at all, they are "androgynous. The photographs suggest the question: how much do you know about a person just from the material things such as a name, or the back of a head? 

                                                                                      Roni Horn 

To continue on in my self awareness of my relationship with nature, I found all the items in my home that referenced birds and created a precarious little sculpture. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nature, Friend With Benefit - Week 4 : The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature

What is the human relation to nature? 
In Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic, Edward O. Winston, applies the notion of Biophilia to answer this question. The Biophilia hypothesis asserts the existence of a biologically based, inherent need for human beings to affiliate with  life and lifelike processes.  Winston states, " biophilia is not a single instinct but a complex of learning rules that can be teased and analyzed individually... the feelings fall among several emotional spectra: from attraction to aversion, from awe to indifference, from peacefulness to fear driven anxiety." In The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature, Stephen R. Kellert explores the notion of biophilia by examining nine fundamental aspects for valuing and affiliating with the natural world: utilitarian, naturalistic, ecologistic-scientific, aesthetic, symbolic, humanistic, dominionistic, and negativistic

Utilitarian: practical and material exploitation of nature
Naturalistic: satisfaction from direct experience/contact with nature
Ecologistic-Scientific: systematic study of structure of function, and relationship in nature
Aesthetic: physical appeal and beauty of nature
Symbolic: use of nature for metaphorical expression, language, expressive thought
Humanistic: strong affection, emotional attachment, "love" for nature
Moralistic: strong affinity, spiritual reverence, ethical concern for nature
Dominionistic: mastery, physical control, dominance of nature
Negativistic: fear, aversion, alienation from nature

Kellert states " biophilia suggests that human identity and personal fulfillment somehow depend on our relationship to nature. The human need for nature is linked not just to the material exploitation of the environment but also to the influence of the natural world on our emotional, cognitive aesthetic and spiritual development." Winston and Kellert's biophilia hypothesis suggests that personal identity is shaped by nature.

The link between identity and nature in these two articles got me thinking about my personal relationship to nature, which I have never really done before, and how it has shaped me. As a result of reading these two articles I decided to go through my collection of personal photographs and find instances of the nine values (listed above) associated with biophilia in an attempt to understand my relationship to nature. After doing this I realized that I had a very narrow definition of nature which made me ignorant to the very close relationship that I as a human being have to nature. I agree with Wilson and Kellert that there is a very close link between personal identity and nature, it is just overlooked in our anthropocentric  conception of human identity. 

{click image to enlarge}

When reading the article Toward an Aesthetic Marine Biology, by J.Malcom Shick I couldn't help but think about the connections it had to Evelyn Keller's article The Biological Gaze because both  examine the relationship between art and science. In his article Shick discusses the similarities between the artist and scientist, "both on the quest for understanding the natural world...the vision by which we discover the hidden in nature is sometimes called science, sometimes art." What is it that separates the two? The artist is interested in aesthetics, as discussed in the Keller article anything that is touched by human hands is thought to be manipulated, while the scientist is meant to be a dispassionate observer. However Shick suggests that much can be learned from art, he quotes Leonardo Da Vinci, " painter's don't imitate nature by copying the visible, but thanks, to their understanding and analysis of the structure of the body, express it to the point of capturing the invisible breath of life." The notion of the "real" or "truth" is always a large topic of debate when discussing the relationship between art and science. Again this goes back to Keller's discussion of "looking" and "touching", in which looking is associated with purity while touching is associated with manipulation. I believe that sometimes to get to the "truth" you must manipulate the reality. 

Allison Carey's photographic series Organic Remains of a Former World is a visual representation of extinct marine creatures from the seven Paleozoic periods. Through her accurate seascapes Carey breathes life back into these extinct creatures, that would otherwise never be seen again.