Earthbound — In Dialogue with Nature


The exhibition presents works by internationally renowned artists that reflect on and draw attention to urgent environmental issues with an emphasis on the complex relationship be-tween human activity and the ecosystem. Earthbound – In Dialogue with Nature proposes solutions and alternative models for a more sustainable coexistence with our environment.

Almost every day, we are confronted with drastic images of extreme weather phenomena such as floods, hurricanes and forest fires caused by extreme droughts. Among the more severe environmental issues requiring urgent attention is the accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans, an alarming loss of biodiversity and the mass extinction of species. Global warming is a largely manmade condition, whereby humans are imposing a significant influential force over the biological, geological and atmospheric processes of the Earth.

The exhibition spotlights artists that implement media, technologies and technoscientific methods in their works. Through a creative use of digital media and new technologies – artificial intelligence, virtual reality, interactive and immersive installations, multimedia sculptures and video installations - the audience is invited to engage in critical dialogue, challenging the narrative which positions humankind at the heart of creation. We are encouraged to surrender egocentric perspectives we have towards the planet and rediscover our relationship with nature.

Several exhibited works navigate an interdisciplinary approach, exploring collaborations between artists and scientists from a variety of scientific fields like geology, meteorology and oceanography. The exhibiting artists do not position technology as a guarantee for a better future, with the assumption that a purely technology solution can save the planet. Instead, they employ technology as a tool for enlightening the otherwise invisible ecological processes and thereby aim to contribute to a healthier coexistence with our environment. Hence the title of the exhibition: Earthbound. We only have one Earth and urgently need to find paths to a more balanced coexistence – escaping to other planets is not an option.

The exhibition was created upon invitation from Esch2022 – European Capital of Culture, located in the south of Luxembourg. It is housed within the Möllerei, the premises of the former raw materials warehouse in Esch Belval, where it was on display from June 4th till August 14th 2022. An expanded version of the exhibition is shown in Basel, presenting several new perspectives: shown for the first time are recent works by James Bridle and Robertina Sebjanič as well as new productions by Ursula Endlicher. As part of the exhibition, HEK is also presenting the interdisciplinary design research project MITWELTEN. Medienökologische Infrastrukturen für Biodiversität by the Academy or Art and Design FHNW.

Accompanying the Esch2022 – European Capital of Culture exhibition is a comprehensive catalogue featuring the works as well as academic contributions on the themes of sustainability, nature and diversity. In autumn, a magazine produced in cooperation with the Institute of Art Gender Nature at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW will be published under the title Coding Care –Towards a Technology for Nature, featuring a compilation of theoretical explorations of the meaningful use of technologies for a better understanding of our ecosystem.

Sabine Himmelsbach
and Boris Magrini
with the support of Yulia Fisch