Human Nature

The first speaker talked of how we projected our inner world onto nature.

Ali talked of her deep unease when a society marginalises that which it finds uncomfortable.
Juliet spoke about transitional space.  Where the distinction between us and nature is not so clearly ruled and it’s not so much a one-way projection but more of an osmotic flow.  There is a difference in the power relationship between projection, which implies the expulsion of that which is not tolerable and a relationship to nature as Juliet experiences it. Which is more of a shifting between merging and separating.

What I loved about Gosford Regional Gallery was the contrast between the very controlled, culturally constructed Japanese garden and the wild tangle of lantana growing just outside the walls.  My work with lantana in the windows looking out into the garden is an attempt to play with this contrast.

I can feel the strong pull and seduction of the Japanese gardens.  To have such order is beautiful.  AND it really disturbs me.

In struggling with this I have been thinking about the developmental ideas of Melanie Klein, a psychoanalyst.  She talks of when a child is first born, how it doesn’t distinguish itself from it’s mother.  In a way the mother is just there to meet it’s needs.  Gradually hopefully through gentle, painful frustration the child comes to realise that the mother is a separate being to be afforded the respect that one expects for oneself.  However if the separation is traumatic then the child never grows to acknowledge that others exist, separate from their own needs.  

I was wondering if these ideas could inform thinking about how we might better relate to nature.  How we might develop the capacity to acknowledge natures right to exist separate from our own needs and to appreciate the benefits of a more equal relationship.  

How do we achieve a relationship with nature?  Not through domination, where relationship is no longer possible.  
Does the capacity to exploit come from a trauma that leaves us greedy and fearful of our own wildness and lack of control?  So we project these qualities out onto nature and attempt to manage it out there where the battle is safely distant. Where we can safely and greedily devour and control without acknowledging the damage we do and the loss we consequently suffer?

Suzanne Bartos

 

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