We shall attempt to define the theme of the upcoming Fotograf Festival from its middle point, at the borderline between culture and nature, and in relation to how that borderline is rewritten, to the points of overlap sought between them, and to the strange constellations in which artificial things become natural and natural artificial. It is no accident that it is these constellations, these ‘blue flowers’ (the image Walter Benjamin uses in reference to the presence of immediate reality in the world of film), that become such rewarding photographic objects. The camera brings us closer to nature but at the same time distances us from it. The attempt to capture nature in the lens of the camera can then be likened to the desire to understand a wild animal by placing it in a zoo or to learn about rare trees by planting them in a park or an exotic flower by visiting a greenhouse in a botanical garden. The naturalness of nature only comes to the forefront once we have experience its opposite; as Derrida points out, the awareness of nakedness is essentially human – animals are naked without knowing it.
The urge to return to nature is indelibly linked to the pervasiveness of technology in our lives. All around us irreversible processes are going on that are driven by momentary needs instead of long-term considerations. What do contemporary art and photography have to say about this and how do they say it?
Asunción Molinos Gordo
Martin & Osa Johnsons