A New Nature
In A New Nature, artist Mark Dorf imagines the future of our natural world as one that’s neither a blockbuster-style apocalyptic wasteland nor an Edenic return to primitive earth. Instead, the vignettes in A New Nature depict the dynamics of our present — a messy, global system in which simulations are entangled with our expectations of real life, and our perception of what constitutes the natural world is mediated, supported, suppressed, amplified, and interrupted by technology.
Integrating gaming and surveillance aesthetics with both animations and footage of the Rocky Mountain region, Dorf collapses the barriers of what’s real in a way that echoes our digital consumption of the world. A mass of living tree roots is scanned and imposed over a simulated ocean; a mountain range is represented as a topographical blueprint. Even the filmed footage, captured at the field research station of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, is manipulated with compositing techniques and color treatment. As Dorf explains, “The more we create simulations of landscapes or nature, the more we expect nature to be and perform as the simulation that we've already made.”
This unique edit of the work was crafted specifically to mirror the brisk pacing of the plazas and billboards in Times Square. As the video progresses, the pace increases, emphasizing the influence of our technological lives on the way “Nature” is understood and perceived.
“The presentation of A New Nature in Times Square is an extension of the concepts in the work itself. Nestled within the endless motion and electrical currents flowing through the glowing canyons of Times Square, the moving images harmonize with their surroundings and enact their post-natural position."
— Mark Dorf
April’s Midnight Moment is presented in partnership with Public Works Administration in conjunction with Dorf’s solo exhibition there from April 1–30, 2023, which includes the full length version of A New Nature.
Dorf would like to thank the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Dr. Paul CaraDonna and Dr. Amy Iler for their continued support in bringing together the arts and sciences.
ABOUT MARK DORF
Mark Dorf is a New York based artist whose practice utilizes photography, video, digital media, and sculpture. Often working directly with ecologists and technologists in the production of his works, Dorf is influenced by human’s perceptions of and interactions with what we call “Nature”, urbanism, design, and virtual environments. As opposed to seeing these subjects as categorically separate, Dorf reveals their entanglement and integration with one another as an inclusive and lively planetary ecology. Being both self-aware and critical of their own means of production, Dorf’s works craft a vision of an ecological future that navigates away from environmental collapse in the Anthropocene and imagine a “New Nature.”
ABOUT PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION
PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION ("PWA") is a digital art project space located in the 50th Street subway in Times Square. They spotlight underground artists who use digital tools to drive culture forward.
Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Disney Store, Express, Levi's, LG, Luxottica Group S.p.A., Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, New Tradition, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, T-Mobile, and JCDecaux.
Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.
Photos by Michael Hull. Video by Tatyana Tenenbaum.