Exhibition

Trying to Cope with Things that Aren't Human (Part One)

27 Mar 2009 – 1 May 2009

AirSpace

Stoke-on-trent, United Kingdom

Address

Travel Information

  • Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Stoke-on-Trent

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IAN BROWN, ALAN CURRALL, MARCUS COATES, RYAN GANDER, RICHARD HUGHES, JOHANNA Hà â€žLLSTEN, HEATHER AND IVAN MORISON, MARIELE NEUDECKER, ALEX PEARL, ANNIKA STRà 'M, RICHARD T. WALKER. Trying to Cope with Things that Aren't Human (Part One) is a group exhibition that includes work in a gallery format and in a publishable form. The invented world could be defined between functional or physical artifacts, such as tools (from a hammer to a computer), further design, where the form or details of such functional items are developed, altered or argued and fictional works, such as literature. Often the natural world could be considered the antitheses of all this, where we often hear ourselves ‘escaping to' or find ourselves in nature ‘getting away from it all'. This escape from the man-made to the naturally developed provides us with a particular position to sit between. The exhibition also seeks to explore how, from a contemporary position, we feel about The Enlightenment's provocation of man over nature and notions of deductive reasoning compared to the untamed and imaginative associations of Romanticism. Here we are, struggling to deal with the things around us, unable to completely understand how technology works but simultaneously unable to truly understand the beauty of nature. We remain confused but still standing: between the things that we have made and the things that we have not, what could be called the invented world and the natural world. We struggle to understand the natural world without ourselves in it, so we turn away to the security of the invented world, the one that we have created. As much as enduring a wilderness, the most minor of domestic tasks can become a difficult exercise in personal maintenance and survival. To the extent that it discusses difference, this exhibition also tries to find the common ground or indeed the threshold between our inability to cope with the things that we have created, to make our lives easier, and our struggle to relate to the wonders of the natural world. We find it equally as difficult to comprehend the beauty of a vast landscape as we do the best way to use a computer, or indeed how it works. It is maybe only right that both the invented world and the natural world could also be equally and simultaneously called non-human. There is not a dichotomy but a fluid relationship between technologies and nature, which judders and jerks all the time, rubbing up against one another. Indeed technology has allowed more of us to have access to the natural world, and in many ways, but our own obsessions with our ability to invent also often distracts us and allow us to ignore it. Equally natural sciences provide us with clear ways in which we can develop our technological tools. The production of art in itself has been affected by these opposites, allowing a relationship to form. This can be seen in recent examples of artists producing work during residencies in locations such as the Antarctic. Is this how we see/define ourselves - between the two? Or do we indeed define ourselves by the struggle to deal with them? Is it this struggle — the trying and the coping — that makes us human?

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