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Mark



Natural Capital (Modal Alam)


12 December, 2017–January 22, 2018

Europalia Indonesia Curator’s Award, Centre for Fine Arts Brussels – BOZAR

Martin Belou, Adrien Missika, Rachel Monosov, Adrien Vermont, and Offshore Studio

Curated  by Charlotte d’Argence Dumoncel and Laura Herman

naturalcapital.online

Credits: Offshore Studio


Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam)

Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with Offshore Studio and Martin Belou 


Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with Adrien Vermont and Rachel Monosov 


Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with Martin Belou



Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with Rachel Monosov



Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with naturalcapital.online designed by Offshore Studio



Exhibition view Natural Capital (Modal Alam) with Adrien Vermont 

Comprising an exhibition and online publication, Natural Capital (Modal Alam) aims to confront economic and scientific accounts of biodiversity in the Indonesian archipelago—one of the world's most biodiverse countries.‘Natural capital’ is an economic concept that we have come to understand as the world’s assets of natural resources capable of flowing into goods and services. No doubt, there must be more liberating and emancipatory concepts to describe the natural commons, currently managed, quantified, and represented as natural capital.

Dealing with this current treatment of the natural world — an outcome of 19th century notions of heroic discovery and scientific classification — while being aware of the contemporary filters through which our experience of nature is mediated, the invited artists and contributors engage with languages and visualisations of Indonesian nature that attempt to thwart the abstractions of natural capital. Yet these investigations raise the question of whether the channels that allow us to mediate and exchange alternative forms of knowledge and experience — such as travel, cultural diplomacy, the media, and the Internet — are capable of transmitting a genuine understanding.

An installation by Martin Belou comprises an unlikely combination of coral skeletons and the kinds of empty advertising panels that dot the Indonesian landscape, bearing campaigns, adverts, or political messages that have dwindled over time. Scenes of faded organic matter and panels devoid of signs quickly become aestheticized abstractions, displaced from their original context and emptied of meaning.

In It will end up in me, Description use of medicinal plants and The Expedition, a film installation by Rachel Monosov, the artist leads us through the Indonesian landscape to encounter indigenous botanists and healers. Her films address bioethical questions and subtly upend the oppositions between science and mythology, documentary and fiction.

Inspired by Conrad Gesner’s 1615 Historiae Animalium, the first species encyclopedia, Adrien Vermont researches the historical shifts in animal representation. Through a series of drawings he references the ambiguous representation of the tiger, which, throughout Indonesian history, has provoked both terror and admiration, and—tough facing near-extinction—continues to appear as an emblem of nationalism, a brand mascot, and as a stand-in for the Western fascination with an ancestral nature.

With More or Less (Psychometric Portrait), Adrien Missika connects the hazards of nature with his own mood swings. A series of hygrometers simultaneously measure humidity and human feelings. Using humour, Missika questions our relationship to nature, spanning scientific rationality, quasi-esoteric beliefs, and undeniable biological rhythms.

Finally, a series of pivoting, synthetic, organic-looking 3D objects by Offshore Studio refer to the artificiality of the ‘natural’, as well as the challenges of going beyond clichés of cultural appropriation in contemporary modes of representation.