Curated by Christiane Paul
Second natures, the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts exhibition -- curated by Christiane Paul, adjunct curator of new media arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art -- features work by faculty members Rebecca Allen, Robert Israel, Rebeca Mendez, Vasa Mihich, Christian Moeller, C.E.B. Reas, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Victoria Vesna. The exhibition is on view in the first- and second-level spaces of the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center designed by Getty Center architect Richard Meier.
The works presented in the exhibition to varying degrees all reference the concept of a "second nature." Some projects literally reflect on natural processes or depict landscapes or present a simulated nature. Others simulate natural processes in organic visual structures and use principles of artificial life and intelligence to create a programmed nature. Yet another body of works is based on principles of optics and shows how light and the eye mediate the perception of our environment.
In their different approaches and media, the works included in second natures construct a multi-faceted picture of the possible meanings and connotations of nature -- a picture that is very much of its time and informed by the current cultural and political climate. Nature appears as processed, both in the sense of natural resources and the medium that represents it. It presents itself as designed, simulated, technologically connected and filtered through human perception, or as an imaginary space.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. Faculty teaching theory in the D | MA department, Erkki Huhtamo and Katherine Hayles, contributed essays to the catalogue.