Do humans and our creations lie somewhere outside of nature? If not, what then can be considered unnatural? Our interpretations of these concepts are not universal, yet are fundamental to our world-views, and therefore, our actions.
Large, three-dimensional letters spelling “#NATURE” glow and shine brighter as bodies approach. This ghostly proxy for nature becomes more visible, as does the surrounding environment, as it is increasingly bathed in artificial light. This project explores our ever-shifting and contradictory relationships with nature and technology. Experiences with what we consider natural and innate have long been mediated by technologies and impacted by our presence. When we get closer to nature, it can become easier to observe, but at the same time, our proximity, and even our gaze, changes it. With a tongue in cheek approach, #NATURE literally highlights this paradoxical relationship, and also the irony of contemporary technology users sharing and labeling messages, images and videos with a “nature” hashtag via social media. Although other definitions have been overtaken in our current communication paradigm, the hash symbol, “#”, can also be read as “number” or “pound”. Interpreted this way, the symbol also speaks to our inclination to quantify, categorize and shape the natural world.
Sean Martindale is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary artist and designer currently based in Toronto, Canada. His interventions activate public and semi-public spaces to encourage engagement, often focused on ecological and social issues. His playful works question and suggest alternate possibilities for existing spaces, infrastructures and materials found in the urban environment. Frequently, Martindale uses salvaged goods and live plants in unexpected ways that prompt conversations and interaction.