Nature is Dead - PhMuseum

Nature is Dead

Sofia Lopez Mañan

2018 - Ongoing

Nature as we know it is a cultural construction. We see through our ideas and aesthetic fantasies.

Nature is dead, and if it is not dead yet we should bury its meaning and put an end once and for all to a romantic, idealised and modernist thought that fragments, classifies and separates what is united, the human being.

Nature is a complex and endless term. For each person it has a different meaning. Nature could be a plant, a pond, the animal kingdom, the bacterias around us, every planet of our Milkyway and beyond. It's every shaping event but we also view it as what’s right, the order of the universe, chaos, death, our holidays, the contemplation of a landscape, love, kindness. Are we good by nature? We call it our mother like a divine goddess, an abstract idea with human qualities. The mother who gives and takes and where we project our own human desires and frustrations.

The notion we have of nature before modern society, is usually envisioned as pure. We imagine humanity as the interruption of this innocence. We tend to think of nature from our human preconceptions of beauty and this is exactly what I'm trying to shake up with this project.

“Nature is Dead” is a cabinet of curiosities, a diverse visual collection of what we define as Nature. Embalmed animals stacked in a basement, digitally man made landscapes, objects used to measure and classify humans, dead rivers and objects to traffic wildlife. Ode to man’s creation, these images seek to observe how we look at and define the otherness, animal, vegetable and human. Join me on this visual journey in order to rethink our notion of nature and create a new ecology thought of true interconnectedness between all things.

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  • A Digital illustration of a rhinoceros in the Patagonian forest of Tierra del Fuego.

  • A human holding a sleeping baboon.

  • Martin’s eye color chart was kept in the Museum of La Plata in Argentina. This chart was developed by the influential anthropologist Rudolf Martin and used by scientists and researchers in anthropologic classifications.

  • Head of embalmed zebra seized after a search from Argentina´s National Wildlife Agency.

  • The Iguazu Falls are known as one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. They are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, and this year the falls ran out of water due to the lack of rain and the closure of reservoirs in Brazil.

  • RIGHT A python, in the La Plata Zoo in Argentina, is rolled up under the infrared light inside a fish tank that is very small considering its large size.
    LEFT Lizards and snakes are packed inside a hollowed-out book for smuggling.

  • A man tried to smuggle 14 Asian songbirds, valued at around $1000 each, in an object similar to this one.

  • On a sheet of Genesis the drawing of a Pira-ñu, a fish with a horse's head from Guarani mythology that attacks boats and preys on the crew.

  • RIGHT Orchid poachers operate much like drug dealers, with similar profits. Orchid collectors’ obsessions for the best and most unusual plants has been dubbed “orchidelirium”, and it’s estimated to be a $6 billion dollar business worldwide.
    LEFT Object to measure craniums. Cranium measurement was intensively practised in anthropology in the 19th and the first part of the 20th century. Theories attempting to scientifically justify the segregation of society based on race were popular at that time.

  • Hair chromatic scale. The classification of hair color was done with the help of this internationally standardized instrument, which was developed by the influential German geneticist and anthropologist Eugen Fischer. This scale was used internationally from 1900 to the middle of the twentieth century.

  • Natalia is one of the eighty felines from the Lujan Zoo in Argentina, where the director believes that wild animals can become domesticated. Natalia walks through his house with absolute freedom.

  • The Chuchivilo is an aquatic animal, half snake and half pig, that is part of the Mapuche folklore. They live in the area of Chiloé in Chile and it usually destroys "fishing corrals" looking for fish and seafood.

  • Seized armadillos stacked in the basement deposit of the National Wildlife Agency in Argentina.

  • The Bay of Fossils is located on the Santa Cruz River in Argentina. A few years ago an agreement was signed with China to build two mega-dams on this glacial river in spite of the great environmental impact that they would cause. The Bay of Fossils is an inhospitable and little studied place but of great scientific importance due to the amount of fossilized bone remains that it houses and will be submerged in one of the water mirrors of the second dam.

  • Giraffe lying on the ground

  • A mountain landscape digitally created.

  • More than 100 million sharks are caught It is estimated that every year around the world, mainly for their fins. Overfishing is the main cause of shark population decline. Currently the Galapagos Islands are home to the largest biomass of sharks in the world.

  • A monkey resting over a red cloth

  • This is a skull of a red howler monkey. Red Howlers are endemic to the Atlantic Forest which covers part of Brazil and Argentina and it was included by IUCN between the 25 primates most threatened of the world. The recurrent outbreaks of yellow fever and habitat loss have caused this alarming population decline. It is estimated that there are only 50 individuals.


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