Human Nature were invited to participate and speak at the Wellcome Collection’s Sixth Form ‘Perspectives on Nature’ Symposium, an event run to coincide with the ‘A museum of modern nature’ exhibition.
The exhibition shows objects borrowed from members of the public that tell a story about their relationship with nature. They create a collective snapshot of how people think about nature in the 21st century and explore how the health of our planet is bound up with the behaviours and values of the people who inhabit it. Very relevant to the themes and ideas explored by the Human Nature Artists.
The event took the format of four short presentations then a Q&A session with around 100 sixth form art and biology students and teachers from across London.
An extract from Tim’s presentation:
Why do we at Human Nature do what we do?
We think art and artists have a vital role to play in getting our society from where we are to where we need to be.
I’ve a question that I’d like to ask you all, which I think illustrates the power that art can have.
Can you think back to the first time you saw a piece of visual art?
Doesn’t matter if it was in a gallery, in a street, on an album cover, on a phone, a tattoo… can you recall the first time a piece made a impact on you?
I can vividly recall a school trip to the Tate Britain when I was 11. A piece of kinetic sculpture blew my mind. I can still picture it, I could draw it now, many years later.
Now, to contrast with that. Who can recall the first time they saw a newspaper, news website or news broadcast?
It’s hard. I can’t, they are things that have always just been there, but because of that ubiquity, the sheer quantity and everpresence of news, it becomes informational wallpaper, part of the background hum of our lives. As a result it’s hard to get a human connection created by news stories.
Which is why we think ‘Art Changes People’
The Q&A session provided an opportunity to hear the students perspectives on their personal relationships with the natural world, and the challenges that they, and the panel of speakers, thought they were going to have to engage with in the near future. The mixture of art and science students in the room provided a range of perspectives and insightful questions.
The other speakers on the panel were Alice Bell, from Climate Campaign Group 10:10, Alan Dangour, Professor in Food and Nutrition for Global Health at LSHTM, and Tim Scoones, Executive Producer of Springwatch, who also compered the event.
The Wellcome Collection have put together this site which allows more photographic content to be added to the exhibition: https://sharingnature.wellcomecollection.org/
The Museum of Modern Nature contains and interesting and diverse collection of objects. The stories behind them, told through audio in the space, or text in the catalogue, reveal odd and individual stories of how people can connect to the natural world. And what they perceive as the natural world.
The exhibition is on until the 8th Oct.