Sisters on Saturday: Symposium at SVA, Stroud. Sue Thomas; Semiconductor: Squidsoup; Simon Ryder The New Natural

new nature

This Saturday 25th May is going to be a very interesting day. As part of the SITE Festival, artist Simon Ryder is hosting a symposium to consider the future of nature – what do we mean by ‘new nature’? Is nature only what we already know of, and some feel, have damaged irrepairably, or might it be something unimagined and unforeseen?

My sister, Professor Sue Thomas, and I, find nothing unusual in such conversations. When I look back at some of the weird discussions and debates we’ve had over the table in the past, I have rarely stopped to wonder whether this is usual family fare. It’s our normal – which is what matters to us.

Intense dialogues about when we are online, do we ‘feel’ we ‘reside’ online? Is virtuality another geography? Where does fact and fiction begin and end? Does it end? We mostly agree. But what do you think?

I’m taking a back seat on Saturday while others enter similar discussions, chaired by Rob la Frenais, of The Arts Catalyst. It will be an intriguing conversation as it unravels the different ways we might consider New Nature.

The New Natural Symposium
Semiconductor, Prof. Sue Thomas and Squidsoup
Saturday 25th May 10.30am-5pm
SVA, 4 John St, Stroud GL5 2HA
Installation Friday 24th-Sunday 26th May

11am-4pm Goods Shed, Stroud GL5 3AP

Book now:

The New Natural is presented by Heart of Wonder in collaboration with SVA, and supported by Alias.

Tickets £12 including lunch and refreshments £20 for weekend inclusive of evening events. See SVA website for more details, or give them a call.

Booking is essential as places are limited 01453 751440 or email office@sva.org.uk

new links to things that I think about a lot lately, technospheres, nature and flow

So many things have inspired my work, it’s difficult to find the space for them all!

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”

Nextnature.net raises some good questions about nature and technology in a non-judgemental way. I like that, no preaching.

This website will radically shift your notion of nature. Our image of nature as static, balanced and harmonic is naive and up for reconsideration. Where technology and nature are traditionally seen as opposed, they now appear to merge or even trade places.

On the nextnature app I found the film Pimp my Planet by Studio Smack. A true inspiration! I find it very powerful – some find it scary, some depressing, but I find it thought provoking. Do we really believe that humans are all powerful? If the planet is badly damaged by us, are we the right people to fix it? Are the countries shifting politically, or maybe physically, as they did when the tectonic plates slipped around? Or during the Ice Age? Are we so detached from the place we live in, that it is no more than a virtual concept? Have we forgotten what it feels like to put our hands in soil, in the ocean, or gaze at the clouds? And importantly, can art in unusual places help us to re-consider the thing we call nature and think of these things in a different way?

Can nature still bring about a state of flow?

And then there’s Technobiophilia by Sue Thomas.

The New Natural Symposium
SemiconductorProf. Sue Thomas and Squidsoup
Saturday 25th May 10.30am-5pm
SVA, 4 John St, Stroud GL5 2HA
Installation Friday 24th-Sunday 26th May 11am-4pm Goods Shed, Stroud GL5 3AP

Modern technology and the natural world are often seen in opposition, the former perceived as either destroying or at least disconnecting us from the latter. So what of a new relationship, a new approach towards the natural world that reconnects us in ways only possible through the use of technology? The New Natural will bring together three people whose work explores different aspects of this question. A day of presentations at 4 John Street, a film installation in the Brunel Goods Shed, interwoven with good food and finishing with an open discussion led by Rob la Frenais of The Arts Catalyst.

The New Natural is presented by Heart of Wonder in collaboration with SVA, and supported by Alias.

Tickets £12 including lunch and refreshments £20 for weekend inclusive of evening events. Booking is essential as places are limited 01453 751440 or email office@sva.org.uk