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Nature, art and indifference

[journal article]

Bartram, Rob

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Abstract This paper explores possibilities associated with contemporary explanations of nature through a consideration of the nature-based art of Damien Hirst. I argue that this art poses fresh and challenging questions with the potential to destabilize dominant explanations of nature. His art affords nature the transformative qualities that rupture both its unproblematical differentiation from society and the belief that nature can be represented as an objectified truth through art. We can best explore these ideas in relation to Hirst’s art by ‘using’ an interpretative strategy akin to Baudrillard’s ‘mysterious rules of indifference’ - the exploration of art’s capacity to activate and trigger metaphors, motifs and plays on meaning that form the ebb and flow of the cultural sign system, where attention is paid to the relational order between the components of meaning, rather than the material composition of specific objects. I argue that we should reconceptualize nature in terms of its alterity and undecidability, cultivating explanations based on indifference so that we do not succumb to the seduction of locating the meaning of nature.
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 1-17
Journal Cultural Geographies, 12 (2005) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)