LAB 3: The narrative of “nature” (gLV) 

Angebot für

Nummer und TypMTR-MTR-1040.21H.003 / Moduldurchführung
VeranstalterDepartement Kulturanalysen und Vermittlung
LeitungWillimann/Arai (Nina Willimann, Mayumi Arai)
ZeitDo 30. September 2021 bis Do 16. Dezember 2021 / 17:15–20:15 Uhr
OrtZT 4.T33 Seminarraum TL (32P / *16P) Toni-Areal, Seminarraum ZT 4.T33, Pfingstweidstrasse 96, 8005 Zürich
Anzahl Teilnehmende4 - 27
ECTS2 Credits
Lehrform(D) Workshop mit Inputs, Gastbeiträgen, Recherche, Entwicklung individueller oder kollaborativer Arbeiten / Versuchsanordnungen
(E) Workshop with inputs, guest contributions, research, development of individual or collaborative works / experimental set-ups
ZielgruppenWahlpflicht für Studierende MA Transdisziplinarität.

Geöffnete Lehrveranstaltung für Studierende anderer Studiengänge der ZHdK. Einschreibung über ClickEnroll
InhalteIn many non-Western cultures, there is no clear separation between the human and the non-human spheres. Amongst the native Japanese words for example, there is equivalent for “Nature”.The term すべてあめつちの間にある事 means that “everything between the sky and earth” has a divine spirit, which is circulating between different expressions of life (including human beings). The use of the invented term “Shizen(自然)” as an equivalent of "Nature" began around 1900, in the course of the opening of Japan forced by Western powers.
In the Western world, „nature“ generally refers to „that which was not created by man“ and stands in contrast to the term „culture“. This nature-culture dichotomy profoundly shapes Western thinking and knowledge, defining "nature" the "other" of "the human".
In the course of Western cultural history, „nature“ has gradually lost its danger, its threatening qualities, and since Enlightenment at the latest, it has become a resource, subordinated to human use. In the course of the colonisation of large parts of the world by Western powers, "nature" became a hegemonic narrative. Today we are confronted with the fatal consequences of this understanding of the world.
In their research, Willimann/Arai currently investigate National Parks as exemplary places in which the Western concept of “Nature” is institutionalized. As a kind of museum or archive, in these protected areas, „nature“ is conserved and exhibited for tourists and researchers. Many National Parks though, have been established in former colonies. Western ideas of  environmental protection is imposed on local indigenous communities in the form of policies, which exclude them of their living environments and deprive them of their own ways to relate to it.

Facing climate change, activists, researchers and indigenous communities demand a fundamental reconsidering of the Western self-perception of “the human” – and of the relationship to what we call “Nature”. 
But how can we question this dichotomy, which is so deeply embedded in the Western thought system and in the perception of our “self”? Do we have to overcome an alienation from “Nature” – or rather the contrary: do we have to learn to fear “Nature” again? 

This Lab's aim is to explore these complex topics and connections and develop experimental set-ups by asking very concrete questions: (How) can we change our perspective on the non-human life that surrounds us? How do we need to reconsider or change our own positioning for this? Which language and methods do we use to construct our narrations? Which artistic means and strategies can be fruitful in dealing with those issues?

Nina Willimann (Zurich) and Mayumi Arai (Tokyo) have been working together since 2015 in various site specific, research and process-based projects between Europe and Asia. In their work they question conceptions, techniques and narratives of the "self" and the "other" by creating hybrid arrangements of the "in-between" in collaborations with visitors, local communities and experts.
Leistungsnachweis / Testatanforderung80% Anwesenheit, aktive Mitarbeit
TermineDonnerstagabend, jeweils 17:15 - 20:15 Uhr: 30.9. / 14.10. / 28.10. / 18.11. / 2.12. / 16.12. / 
Dauer6 Sitzungen, 14-täglich
Bewertungsformbestanden / nicht bestanden
BemerkungThe lab will be held in English
Termine (6)