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It's in our Nature

Landscape Lab

Modeling nature for human control

Model landscapes and components in the Lab. — © Katie Pelikan Baselj

If there is no nature we haven’t touched, how much should we intervene? Landscape Lab is inspired by the failed modernist idea that nature can be fully created, shaped, and maintained. It mirrors the complexities of nature parks and conservation in The Netherlands through miniature ecosystems.

The Myth of Wilderness

While nature parks aim to be a space of harmony between humans and non-humans, picturesque landscapes can easily flatten and erase more complex histories. In the Netherlands, a history of reclaiming land has led to speculation about the possibility of designating truly ‘wild’ places. Even here, romantic notions of wilderness create a paradox – a place without humans, designed for human enjoyment. Landscape Lab explores a future where humans have full control in the managing of nature. The narrative scrutinizes the creation and remodeling of new land, paying attention to local histories and geographic conditions.

New Nature

In the film, an ‘Expert’ character explains the history of three landscapes and how humans might prepare for non-human disruption. It is closely linked to the Netherland’s development of the New Nature initiative. The fictional scenarios imagine a chain of environmental dependencies beginning with existing nature parks. As the management of nonhumans grows increasingly absurd, the fight to regain control begins to parallel real-life conservation techniques. The maakbaarheid, or ‘makeability,’ of nature is pushed to new extremes.

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About Katie Pelikan Baselj

Katie Pelikan Baselj is an artist and designer from the US. Her work confronts romantic mythologies about the natural world by exploring the limits of human control. Using many mediums and embracing the non-expert role, she aims to open conversation about critical issues in unconventional ways.

Screenshot from film: Landscape Lab — © Katie Pelikan Baselj

Landscape materials (Expert Use Only) — © Roel Backaert

The visitor is given a godlike perspective. — © Katie Pelikan Baselj

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