What makes us unique? In my research I concluded that there is no single characteristic that only we have. As much as we would like to see ourselves as the climax of evolution, somewhere on earth there is an animal around with the same trait as us (though it is often to a lesser extent). This can be self-awareness, empathy, war, culture or whatever.
But if we are not completely unique, what is then the most characteristic of the human race? In my opinion, that is our adaptability. That means our ability to adapt to an environment, but also to control the environment. This creates a symbiotic relationship with the environment in which we find ourselves. We are influenced by it, but in turn influence it by our presence.
If we look at this fact in modern times, it quickly becomes clear that the manipulation of the environment has left its mark. It becomes clear to us that we cannot go further and want to return to the roots, to be one with nature again. But the diligent search for that connection is an illusion that we impose on ourselves.
We all long for that little hut on the moor, for living on a farm and being self-sufficient. A simpler existence through which we can appreciate the small things in a world that becomes more and more complex and dependent on others. But as soon as we take those first steps to that life, we will find out that it is a little disappointing. The strawberries on our window sill in the kitchen that do not grow, the unsprayed lettuce being eaten by snails. We do not know and do not understand the natural world anymore.
We are stuck in this romantic cycle of repelling and wanting to return to nature. This is because we are inextricably linked to nature. After all, we are part of it and although we tell ourselves that we are above these biological instincts and rational thinking, this is also an illusion that we have talked ourselves into.
We want to anthropomorphize nature, to assign emotions to it and to see it as an entity, Mother Nature. It is so stuck in us that we even find it in our language, THE nature (DE natuur). But nature simply IS. We want to get nature back to its original state, but when is that the case? Every species goes extinct sooner or later whether that is due to us or not. Nature always continues to exist no matter how hard we do our best to destroy it, but in what shape nature does so and if it is suitable for our species is the question.
Am I then separate from this romantic thinking? Can I puncture the pink cloud? No of course not. Even in my cynical thinking during the making of this text it is impossible not to romanticize. I admit that I also really want to go to that cottage on the hill.
In the project Accommodare ad Hominem I investigate this by connecting nature with my body. I create bodily interventions in which I use my body as a host for nature. I embrace my romantic thinking and carry it to the extreme to a kind of tragicomedical desire. Not only the objects, but also the process itself is part of the whole. During the process I often encounter beautiful situations that emphasize how I am stuck in my thinking.
The illustrations of this project are for sale. Interested? There are thirty in total and can be bought either individually or as a group with discount. Contact me for more information.