05 June 2020
05 June 2020 - Written by Simon Hall
To mark World Environment Day this year, we are showcasing five compelling and conceptually diverse projects that examine our relationship with the living world and natural ecosystems.
First held in 1974, World Environment Day is the United Nations' principal vehicle for encouraging awareness on environmental issues, marine pollution, human overpopulation, global warming, and wildlife crime. Its aim is to promote actions for the protection of our environment and a sustainable economy. On this occasion we have selected 5 projects from our community to invite you reflect on the current situation and our relationship with the environment.
“[The project Wunderbaum presents] a dialogue between mankind and our surroundings. In the Anthropocene epoch – an epoch of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems – this dialogue has changed. It has turned into a monologue of a man himself. The main idea behind the project is to state that the behaviour of mankind toward nature is highly influenced by economic prosperity, which leads to unlimited biological exploitation. Land is something we grew up upon. It looks like, in these days, a wallpaper with a nature motive and a fake lawn is enough for us.” Paula Malinowska (Slovakia)
“Largely unnoticed by the world public, a major environmental disaster is taking place in Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran. Where ten years ago the waves splashed against the walls of the villages, today you see an almost endless desert. Ships that once brought people from one side of the lake to the other now lie like stranded whales on the shore, decaying. Within a few years, the surface area of the lake has shrunk by 80 percent. Both climate change and the agriculture sector’s enormously high water consumption rates are responsible for this. If this disaster is not shopped, up to five million residents could be forced to leave the area in the future.” Maximilian Mann (Germany)
“Tristan is a bird educator; he prepares birds for theatre and cinema and develops their positive contact with humans in “ornitotherapy”. As a child, in the forest behind his parent’s house he realised that, while remaining still for a long time, the animals came out of the vegetation. The approach in respect of the rhythm of the other, remains the basis of Tristan’s method. His technique is based on the understanding of birds’ sensibility, which is more extensive than ours, moving to areas we have partly forgotten throughout the course of evolution. Body position, intensity of the look, or even the intentions that animate us, have for birds a great deal of importance. Following Tristan, we can enter their world made of minimal, subtle, and incorporeal events.” Francesca Todde (Italy)
“Today, Peru is a major supplier of the gold that circulates in the world, as it was during the Spanish colony. Gold continues to fuel our dreams, shaping events in the process. Global demand for gold in recent decades – from financial traders, banks, tech companies and jewelers – have supported legal and illegal mines in Peru that have enriched many while enslaving or dispossessing others and polluting the environment. For this project, I turned my lens to focus on the bigger picture: gold’s association with both the sacred and the sinister in Peruvian culture throughout the centuries. I visited the cradle of pre-Colombian civilizations that once exalted gold as a symbol of the divine, before the Spanish monetised it by introducing the concept of gold-based coinage and currency. I wanted to explore what gold meant to ancient Peruvians and what significance it still holds for contemporary society.” Marco Garro (Peru)
“Brazil occupies 25% of the international meat market. We can say that for each five steaks eaten in the world, one is from Brazil. The rich farmers are in constant negotiations with the Brazilian Government with the intention to duplicate this number between now and 2025. This could mean also to duplicating the numbers of animals from 200 million to 400 million. These numbers are only possible through genetic development. Holy Cow is about the power and mystery behind the Brazilian meat industry and aims to understand the characteristics of the Brazilian rural capitalists and the contemporary identity of those who decide the meat we will eat in the world.” Carolina Arantes (Brazil)
We're always working to expand our network of projects and photographers dealing with socially and culturally sensitive subjects. If you are a photographer or artist please do create a free PHmuseum account and upload your projects. You can also get in touch with us at email@example.com.