Project Description

Series

Luonto*

*Nature, outdoors, in the wild, environment, habit, wildlife, character

Artist Profile

Helen Early
Backler

Born 1986, Perth, Western Australia

Here we are, on planet Earth, which spins on its’ axis and revolves around the Sun, which orbits in an ellipse around the center of the Milky Way, which is being pulled towards Andromeda within our local group, which is being pushed around inside our cosmic supercluster, Laniakea, by galactic groups, clusters, and cosmic voids, which itself lies in the KBC void, amidst the large-scale structure of the Universe. Think about it a while the next time when you sit down in front of some beautiful nature scene.

The scale of nature is something that our brains can never really grasp. We can scientifically measure the distance between Earth and Mars and which is 78,340,000 kilometers, but can you imagine how long distance is 78 million kilometres? If you measure this by how many time you would need to go around our Earth, the answer is 1954 times. If you managed to get some idea how much is 78 million kilometres, try grasping the scale which lies between us and our neighbour galaxy, Andromeda. The distance is roughly 2,5 million light-years, so it is about 23,651,826,181,452,000,000 kilometers. Good luck understanding that.

ABOUT

We know this because of the scientific theory, what was a revolutionary discovery. Before that we had we had to rely solely on our subjective views of our surroundings and there was always some imaginary god-like entity that knew the all answers, that we humans couldn’t understand.

Science was different, we admitted that we don’t know all the answers to the big questions about our Universe, but we would try our best to study them. We developed methods, that could provide more objective view to the subject, from that we are observing. Nowadays science is part of everyday life and our civilisation is based on it.

As amazing tool science can be, we tend to forget that it is just a method or a language that we humans have invented ourselves. We modern people have grown in a world where it is easy to forget that we are also part of the natural universe. It’s also sometimes hard to grasp, that computer chips are as natural object as a leaf from a tree. To make it even more difficult to understand, they both are made of the same material, as are you. In other words, everything is one enormous thing and our reality is just a perception of a life form that calls itself as humans.

When we look nature and its’ complexity, we can easily see that it isn’t designed by humans. With science we can somehow explain how a life-form grows, multiplies and dies, but we don’t have faintest idea why or what is the purpose? Why life has ended up with it’s current form? Why did life chose so many different forms? Why does some organisms live thousands of years and why mayflies’ lifespan is only 24 hours? As the time passes more slowly to smaller creatures, are humans to trees, just another mayfly? When it comes to consciousness, life or nature itself, it is easy to realise that there is way more questions, than answers.

Maybe there is some other side of nature. Something different than the reality that we are used to or our science can measure. Maybe there is something that we just can’t perceive? Many people who have used psychedelic drugs or have experienced feeling of enlightment, have described this mysterious ”oneness” and the beauty of it. Maybe we just are more advanced with our technical solutions, but are we are still learning the cognitive side? Humans don’t evolve in same exponential speed as our technology does. Back in history, when humans started spreading from the savannas of Africa. Was someone thinking why did they spread or were they just following random stimuli? Maybe their habitat wasn’t any more suitable for humans? Who knows?

It’s is ironic. The modern environment that we have created for ourselves, is unfit for humans. We have altered our nature so much, that unknowingly we have endangered the survival of our own species. While we have enjoyed our hedonistic habits, we have caused mass extinction of many other life-forms.

We tend portray ourselves as these unnaturally intelligent creatures and we have a weird habit of separating ourselves from the other lifeforms. Sure we are the only one on this planet that can build virtual realities, but this really an intelligent or difficult thing to do?

Example, take a look at plants. They ”eat” the sun and ”drink” from the dirt and while doing it, these incredible things feed the whole planet. Ants have been here 130 million years, despite their size they have conquered six continents, 15-20 percent of the planet’s biomass is ants. Ants have been so successful, that their existence can’t be shaken by some primate that has been here only for around 300,000 years.

How many of us would die if the electricity would go out indefinitely? How would you survive if you were dropped buck naked to middle of a forest and you would have to start living there? Do you know where to find or how to make drinkable water? We can survive without water for a week as some animals can be years without drinking.

When you start to think of it, modern era human is fairly weak.  By years of just exploiting nature, we have lost our primal knowledge how to live in peace with the planet and its’ other habitants. We all know how a simple virus can bring our society to its knees.

You could say that we are the most intelligent of all the species on planet Earth. We dream of colonising the Space and have the power to destroy our whole planet if we choose to. But are we that intelligent? I mean, individual space rock can wipeout the whole planet. A rock. Surely we are more intelligent than a rock? Then again, how many of us have been fooled to think that money, this collectively created imaginary thing is somehow important in this Universe?  At least rocks can’t be fooled.

Despite and because our faults, we are still part of this amazingly surprising natural world. Everything what we have and will build is part of nature, even the digital world. This new digital life that we are currently building can feel like an alien and somehow fake world that is separated from the real world, but the feeling we all get is biased. A cat watching a youtube video is maybe the worst example to ”prove” this thought. 

The cat may not understand much about the video, but it definitely has a reaction to it, even the thing in the television is not ”real”. Cats can enjoy their time in the various ”castles” of their human slaves, protected from the ”real” nature. Kinda like we humans take holidays from our daily life, to be protected from the horrors of adulthood. Cats live their life as comfortably as dictators, but as soon as you expose them to the ”real world”, things get different.

They become agile and smart predators without mercy. They play with their victims before killing them and afterwards they proudly display their murder victims to the human slaves, just how clever and good hunters they are. Kinda like humans share biased news about killing some ”bad guy” and boast how bad-asses their soldiers were.

Cats seem to understand the difference of these two ”worlds”, inside and outside. They understand to adapt and change their ways, depending in which ”world” they are in. Kinda like the opposite how we humans don’t seem to know how to adapt our behaviour between this digital world and the ”real world”.

If a cat spends his entire life inside a tiny apartment and is exposed to the ”real world” his first steps outside are going to suck. Their ability to hunt and survive has been diminished, because they just haven’t had the need for it in the cozy human made ”castles”. Kinda like most of us don’t know how to survive in the nature without help. I wonder does the cat understand, that the whole”castle” is build by their human slaves or do they see it as just another natural environment, like a forest or a backyard?

In Finnish, Luonto also means your character. My nature is to think this kind of thoughts, just for the fun of it and sometimes I like to share them. Even though I think that everything can be seen as a beautiful part of this utterly complicated universe, for me the Luonto – Series observes the everything around us, excluding humans. This series takes a look at these life-forms that still have their ability to survive in the wild, buck naked. No matter is it a bear or spore from a mushroom. By the way, I learned today that it’s ”buck naked” in English, I always thought that it was ”butt naked”. Apparently butt naked means that your butt is the only thing that is naked. Anyhow, back to the part where I try to explain my point of view on the Luonto – series.

One of my favourite things is to walk slowly in the nature, just observing, enjoying the moment. Taking it all in, breathing. Being in awe, in the loud silence. Another liking of mine is to explore the nature and this I can do with a camera in my hand.

Luonto – series is an ongoing project, maybe for as long as I will take photographs. Basically this is the project how I started learning photography. Walking around in the Finnish forests, capturing those sights that someway created a reaction in me. I kinda was the cat who was watching the youtube video and not understanding the fact that the video was created by humans and it was explaining the big bang theory.

Now, the so called Luonto – series, is my way of unwind with art and just observe what ever stumbles in front of me. I want to see what kind of photographs I take naturally. There are reactions in us that emerge only by looking at some beautiful flower, art or your own child. It doesn’t matter is it a movie, photo or a game. The experience isn’t any different is it the sound that comes from the massive eagle that flies past you, few meters below your feet. It’s all about that you are there, reacting to a stimulus created by some other life-form and thus you could say that at the time, you are connected to the Nature, to our character. For me the purest form of art is to look at something and just drift in the thoughts that this stimulus has created. Your thoughts create the art, not mine.

“Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college, where you figure out two plus two is ten, or something”

Dennis Rodman