MAIKEN STENE

This Land Is Your Land/This Land Is My Land

This Land Is My Land, 2013, HD video, excerpt 1,52 min, original lenght 6 min

The world moves parallel to the beholder. I stand perfectly still and see a visual excerpt that, as soon as I turn scarcely an inch, warps into new sizes and arrangements of elements. 

The world is whatever we want it to be. However, are we human beings able to see beyond an anthropocentric point of view and understand something that is fundamentally different from ourselves? To try to answer this question, I research the historical development of two specific traditions that have affected the way we look at nature today: landscape painting and the mining industry. 

Both the landscape painter and the geologist have since the sixteenth century participated in the active alteration of what nature looks like by means of scientific, physical and visual changes to the land. 

Landscape painting:
In North America in the 1850s, politicians sent landscape painters to the frontiers to document the undiscovered wilderness of the promised land. These artworks inspired a huge flow of tourism that, after much political negotiation, led to the founding of the national parks. These stunning and famous views of the American landscape are now embedded in our collective visual memory as the face of the nation, and can be experienced live in the parks from designated viewpoints at any time. Next to the parks, forests are being cut down, mountains are strip-mined, oceans are polluted, but in the parks, the romantic notion remains, protected. 

Mining industry: 
The highly effective excavation of iron ore is carried out by massive machines as heavy as 400 tons that have tyres two times a man’s height. Tiny human beings operate the giant metal dinosaurs that eat their way into the mountain with ravenous hunger. They blacken the air with exhausts as fossil fuel bleeds back into the ground from where it came. 

Is it a guilty conscience that makes a mining town establish a so called Geopark: a green tourism apparatus that promotes the unique and unspoiled mountainous scenery of a region, when on the other side of the fence the iron-mining giant destroys the same mountain in the excavation of raw materials to make white pigment used in almost everything that is white, including toothpaste, fishballs, soap and paint? 

In my work I want to understand how a consensus as to what nature looks like can be established. I want to cancel out the effect of double standards that are applied unconsciously in order to remove guilt and responsibility from our actions. I try to understand a subject from as many angles as possible by investigating the role of opposites: the industrialist and the landscape painter, the violator and the conservationist. I de-construct the traditional landscape painting and make it into a theatre stage upon which the physical repositioning of the audience can affect the way an artwork is perceived. 


Narcissus, Terex, a portrait of Tyrannosaurus Rex, 2013, HD Video, excerpt 3,47 min. original lenght 7 min


   
  
 
  
    
  
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   Subjective Reality Simulator, 2012, watercolour paper, steel structure, lights, 2m x 2m x 1,5m.  Detail. 

Subjective Reality Simulator, 2012, watercolour paper, steel structure, lights, 2m x 2m x 1,5m. Detail.