A Wilderness

Russ Thompson

“A Wilderness” is a reckoning with my changing conception of nature in the face of new technologies for representing and modeling the world, as well as the ramifications of such technologies on how we relate to nature. Often we think of the world as a primordial chaos with order imposed on it by divine or human hands, but that first chaos is still with us just out of sight or seething on the margins of the human world. Now, in this era, whether we call it late stage capitalism, the Anthropocene, or the era of global warming we live with a second chaos of our own making. This chaos is formed from the crashing wreckage of old ideas and ways of being that can no longer bear our weight or the world’s. We are now well off the maps and into the territory, and the mapmaker’s claim that here be dragons has become fact. We are lost in a wilderness both metaphorical and all too literal. A prime aspect of this new reality is that the distinction between what is human or natural, real or unreal, has become blurred as these maps degrade. “A Wilderness” approaches this idea both conceptually in terms of content and materially by employing a variety of photographic and digital techniques in ways that blur the boundary between the real and unreal.

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