"Nature Culture, Episode 1: Gaze "

  • Illustration for the magazine cover for the cultural organization PointCulture. http://bruxelles.pointculture.be/

    Some time in the spring, I received en email from Frederique Muller, of PointCulture asking me if I was interested in creating three magazine covers: a sequence of visuals that represented the transformation of human/nature relationships from history to the present moment and into a vision for the future.

    The theme for the first publication was exploring the history of how human kind perceived nature. What kind of relationships grew out of man’s curiosity about the unknown. How the need for discovery shaped our perception of our environment, animals, plants, landscapes and maybe most important, of humans themselves.

    I started collecting a number of images of animals, plants, human skeletons and different techniques for body preservation from the far, far past. I searched for images of alchemy and mysticism, drawings of natural, known and something not yet understood, unseen and therefore created in collaboration with mind and imagination.
    I got fascinated with how the need for knowledge and explanations while and at the same time the lack of some information, created the niche for imaginary creatures, processes (alchemy) and stories (legends and fairy tales) that some times we call history.
    I was curious, how much of that became the truth we believe in and therefore accepting it as reality today? 
And to what level is today's relationship with our environment unconsciously based or influenced on the processes from the past?

    The collection of the visuals that I selected speaks about the man’s passion and curiosity for the world he wishes to know and learn about. The world that is rising from within our own bodies. It’s like a gigantic playground full of amazing organisms, whose structures inspired engineers and architects. Full of plants and wild life, offering all kinds of forms, colours and functions. The world that stretches out into still unreached skies.
For the background image I used an adjusted conceptual flowery plant (by Johann von Goethe from 1837). And on the top of the central circle, rests an image of the man, who by lifting his own skin, looks with a curiosity and self examination into the layers of single-celled organisms, called radiolarians (from the Ernst Haeckel book "Art forms from the Ocean") The bottom layer under the radiolarians is an astrological map that I used to represent the infinity and unlimited space for search and discovery.

    Through learning about ourselves we discover the universe.

    While playing with different images for the cover, I decided to stay with the collage principal including some self drawn objects. The technique I chose became part of cover concept and its philosophy, and represents the search that is already out there in books and online as an endless playground of information and magic.