Sunday, February 15, 2009
Getting Away from it All Never Seemed So "Natural"
After reading The Biophilia Hypothesis by Edward O. Wilson and Stephen R. Keller I began to form many questions and visualizations about natures' role in the idea of absence in human life. Biophilia is explained as the "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms" and "...the existence of a biologically based, inherent human need to affiliate with life and lifelike processses." In both these decriptions by Keller and Wilson I read "the necessity to belong." I wanted to commence my dissection of this material with the idea of distance because I feel it is crucial to the understanding of Biophillia. I often question how intune we are with what is natural to us as human beings in the terms of rituals ( mundane everyday activity), yet according to Biophillia the knowledge is within, we've simply lost touch with it. In particular to contemporary generations, a cellphone in every pocket (Communication) , a restaraunt in every corner ( to feed), what to wear ( aesthetics), all at the end point toward basic natural needs of not only humans but of living things. It began to make much sense to me how culture mimicks or attempts to fill the void nature has left in human needs as human history and life have progressed so rapidly away from a more shall we say earthly experience.
I watch a lot of HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and it always mermerizes me how simple it is to please people when it comes to home decisions wether it be purchaisng, redecorating or selling. The title itself, of the network, references a balacne in attention to home and garden, for one can say they live in parallels. "The views are amazing from here" seems to be a common selling line. The realtors, stagers, designers, always make reference to the natural components of the space. It's as if the ultimate sense of comfort and tranquility in one's personal spaces must incorporate nature in a sense to be functional, balance. This brought me to thinking about vacations. We refer to a vacation as "getting away from it all." If there exist at present an inbalance in natural influence in our sorroundings, there i smuch to say about the kind of destinations vacations are made up of. We escape the city by going to the beach, the far and distant island, the exotic corner of the world, or the unfamiliar territory were not even our most state of the art and trcik filled PDA's and cell phones get signal. There is a trend in catching up with nature and reintroducing it back into our technology, culturally complex and synthetic lives. It can go as simple as a walk to the park or "getting some fresh air." Im going to add a painting by Bob Ross here because it to me is a perfect example of the power of the landscape aesthetics applied to simple pleassures and also it takes on a commentary on meditation and reflecting on emotion. Plus also the popularity of this kind of work and this persona is fascinating. To think that mountain scapes are the ultimate in imagery in art to so many people says a lot about our relationship to the aesthetics of nature.
Within the talk of Humanistic and the idea of domestication of nature in human life in order to attain a greater or get a betetr understanding of nature by having pets or caring for house plants I thought of jeff Koon's "Puppy." the work is to me an iconic representation of the relationship between dogs as mans best friend and the nature induced relationship whcih occurs there. Also the use of the plants and it being showcased as a public destination of Aesthetical pleassure. "the Humanistic Experience of nature reflects feelings of deep emotional attachment to individual elements of the natural enviroment." Also it is interesting to me teh idea of how synthetic and "produced" Koon's work is in relation to this concept of Biophillia. When I think of Koons I dont automatically think of nature however without nature his work would have very little force. Case and point his constant use of animals as imagery. There is mention in the article a conversation on the mass production of stuffed animals and toys for that matter. The fact taht understanding and education of life to children is presented with alot of animal imagery. This being because of teh symbolic power of animals to nature. Jeff Koons therefore is referencing on these same lines. Wether it be consciously or not by the artist, in the spirit of Biophillia, this kind of natural influecne can be said to have happened intuitively.
.."the greater the knowledge, the deeper the mystery and more we seek knowledge to create new mystery....our intrinsic emotions drive us search for new habitats, to cross unexplored terrain, but we still crave this sense of a mysterious world stretching infinitely beyond." This quote from Kellert's essay the Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature made me think about the educational component of culture. To educate oneself is something that is praised and valued by most, however the thirst for knowledge is what I find fascinating. We strive so hard to know it all see the world learn everything we can yet we are still driven to excitement by surprises and adventures. I come to think of psychics and how they provide a sense of curiosity yet fear at the same time. Its as if we whant to know all that would in a sense benifit us and yet fear that the news will be simply put about death. the conclusion im driving to hear is that at the end everything is about basic living needs. The need to feed, to reproduce,to be sheltered, basically the desire and need to survive.