Angelus Schnabl

2021 - 2022

This project started with the investigation at one of Europe’s leading applied research facilities, Wageningen University.

The initial thought was to highlight the Netherlands as one the worlds largest exporter when it comes to vegetables, with a critical eye on the proportionality of population density and land use. During my attempts of applied research it was not possible to acquire the complete inside/outside perspective I was looking for, since a lot of these informations are confidential.

As a consequence I had to rethink that initial idea. It came to my mind to make up a story, based on dutch agriculture evolving through history, and building a fictional narrative around it: the report of the discovery and cultivation of a plant to guarantee coming food production.

I intend to trick the reader by combining archival material with the footage I still had from my time at Wageningen University and blend a new form of a possible reality.

With this project I aim to manifest the possibilities of the photographic medium as a tool of deception.

The narrative itself evolves through the cultivation of a plant, where the protagonist is discovering an exotic plant in the 1950s in Indonesia, New Guinea. The plant is shipped to Europe where it is examined. The plant has incredible traits (can survive extreme drought) and is used for cross breeding with food crops to secure food production for the coming decades.

The depiction of the theme of food production shows how the western world but in general nature and human interplay. Taking nature as a resource and commodity the plant becomes an object of desire. In a way it also depicts colonialisation by domesticating the plant.

The whole story is made up but carrying a core which is based in the physical world and deals with power of human hand over nature and their alienation.

I used a lot of scientific archival material to make the reader believe the imagery it depicts to play with the notion that we (most of the time) believe what we see.

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