Unsettled Bodies. Nature at War

site specific audio and visual installation, 2019

With: Gabriela Baka

Commissioned by Bureau Europa for the exhibition Landscape as cult. A changing new on our nature 28.11.2019 - 03.05.2020 

  Unsettled Bodies. Nature at War. Installation view, Bureau Europa. 2019. Credits: Bureau Europa

Unsettled Bodies. Nature at War. Installation details, Bureau Europa. 2019

‘Unsettled Bodies. Nature at War’ is an installation about the relationship between colonised landscapes and their visual translation in European cities. British garden architect Thomas Mawson’s landscape design for the Peace Palace (1913) in The Hague symbolised international harmony, but largely comprised rhododendrons and azaleas appropriated from the colonies. In the 19th century, the engineering of cinchona plants for the production of anti- malarial drugs improved Imperial survival in India. Java became the worldwide production centre for antimalarial medicines. Alkaloids, either held in cinchona barks produced in plantations, or injected in the blood of immunized soldiers proliferated in parallel to the propagation of colonial occupation. This multi-species act of landscaping and colonisation made it possible for azaleas to return to the Empire to symbolise the Western ideal of Peace. The installation combines archival material and newly produced work in a theatre set. Visitors walk through various scales of landscaping spanning colonial plantations, cells, bodies and gardens.

Read the audio-script here