Nature of Truth 

Perfect Nature - co-curated by Neal White
Amstepark, Amsterdam
Neal White and Tina O’Connell - 2022

Still and Installation inside the exhibition Perfect Nature in Het Glazen Huis. projecton space  (10 Min HD Film with Light installation) 

Nature of Truth - Commission by zone2source and Mondriaan Funds, Amstelpark, Amsterdam.

Created in collaboration with Tina O’Connell

April 22nd - 19th June 2022

Light pollution and visual ecology link the spectral physics of seeing with the spectres of lost species.

‘Nature of Truth’ was a newly commissioned work that linked the depiction of nature in the history of the scientific atlas, with the decline in insect populations and moths in Holland and UK. It situates a deeper understanding of what constitutes our shared visual ecology with more-than-human actors as a propositional1 image for cohabitation and coevolutionary politics.  

The work was produced both in advance and during the installation of the exhibition which was co-curated with zone2source.

Workshops with participating artists and a final research presentation took place during the exhibition period.

The commissioned work consisted of a surround soundscape, 10 min HD Single Channel Video.

Video Element: Stitched together from images of recently extinct moths from the archives of the natural history museums, the video was made using a method of drawing and then embroidering images of the moths in order to capture them photographically. Alongside photographic records of recently discovered moths in Holland (due to climate changes impacting migration), the images are then re-photographed within Amstelpark itself, using a simple technique of light painting.

Sound and light elements: An accompanying site-specific video and light/soundscape was made from audio field recordings of bat species found in and around the park as they hunt down moths. Slowed down and remixed with a range of other nocturnal insects, the light-based soundscape also interrupts the viewers experience of the video work presented in the black box of the projection space.

Thanks and Credits

The artists would like to thank Office of Experiments, Erik Kearney and Bill Thompson for their work developing the dynamic light based system used in the work, as well as Artlab at Reading University who provided materials and resources for the ongoing research.

As an off-site project – the broader exhibition, Perfect Nature extends the work of the Ecologicial Futurisms program being developed at CREAM, University of Westminster of which Neal White is a member.

1 - The Propositional Image is a concept developed by Diann Bauer, whilst undertaking her PhD in the Deep Field Research Studio. 

Test Sites; Amstelpark
Ongoing Research  with Deep Field Research Project and Nieuw en Meer - led by Neal White

The piece forms part of an ongoing placement in the park and beyond entitled Test Sites; Amstelpark, that draws on the Netherlands advanced agro-industrial and post-natural landscape beyond its borders.

During a studio based residency at Nieuw en Meer, Amsterdam, fieldwork was undertaken in and around the greenhouses area of Schipol Airport, Aalsmere (Royal Flora Holland) and further afield around The Hague and Naaldwijk. Other research focused on the nocturnal landscape inside Amstelpark, including mapping and nocturnal workshops with artists from the School of Multipspecies Knowledges. As it turned out, the park was not as dark as originally assumed.

Visual Ecology and Anthropogenic Noise

The outcomes of this research are a proposal to be developed by zone2source with partners and stakeholders in Amstelpark as a way to instigate future discussions for changing lighting in urban parks across Amsterdam and other urban settings.

A film is currently being assembled from fieldwork documents, found and archival footage, and a future publication is being produced as an outcome (Summer 2022).

The result of this research points toward social and philosophical reconciliation with visual ecology (how animals see) that address historical and future ideas of cohabitation - a co-evolutionary rebalance between actors in and on the nocturnal environment.

Perfect Nature

The exhibition Perfect Nature of which this commission formed part was curated by Neal White in collaboration with Tina O’Connell and Director of zone2source Alice Smits in Amstelpark. 

Further collaboration with May Adadol Ingawanij and Julian Ross, was supported by University of Leiden. The project was financed by the Mondriaan Funds, CREAM at University of Westminster and zone2source. Amstelpark Test Sites.

A Research Residency supported by: Artlab at Reading University (UK), Mondriaan Funds (NL), Nieuw en Meer (NL), University of Westminster (UK) and zone2source (NL).

Below - Production of images in the studio.

Ongoing Research - Highlights

Light based analysis of Moth webs in Amstelpark

Light Pollution (anthropogenic noise) analysis in and around Het Galzen Huis - Amstelpark

Concept Render by Cassius O’Connell-White