It must have been an evening in October. With all due haste I hurried through a maze of fences and cranes which made reaching the platforms of Rotterdam Central Station into a challenge. While I smoked a quick cigarette I noticed I was treated to a clear blue sky above an idyllic white beach. The bright sun would have been mercilessly if not for that one coincidental palm tree that provided some shade. A tropical beach, lost in a dark and cold construction pit made me wonder.
A loss on the one hand is a gap in the market on the other, eagerly picked up by entrepreneurs. Nature, on which I address myself with this project, has thus become one of the best-selling products.
The original and uncontrollable character of nature does not fit our man-made environment, it would disrupt our design rather than beautify. It’s getting cleared to make way for our own design and restrained as much as possible. Yet man seems to have an innate desire for ‘nature’ and wants to have her as close as possible. In our houses, in the bedroom, at the office, even in the toilet.
The answer comes in a cultivated and controlled version of what we see as nature, a simulation such as a zoo, artificial representations in the form of artificial plants and animals and flat representations such as posters and sticker wallpaper. All so we can enjoy ‘nature’ undisturbed but in fact enjoy culture, the idea of ‘nature’ seized by man and stripped of its essential character.
But to what extent does this interpretation fulfill the substantial need, does it bring us closer to the real loss or is it a placebo. Will future generations still know what nature actually implies or will they position the association that comes from our cultivated nature above true nature. The fact that ‘nature’ lies so well in the market, says more about the loss than about the quality of our substitutions.
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