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Working with Trouble: Reassembled Landscapes of History and Nature

By Maja Fowkes
In Natural Histories (Vienna: Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK)

The reconfiguration of the landscapes of history is considered in this contribution through artistic projects that have focused on specific turbid instances of historical and natural conjunctures, whether by revisiting the sites of wartime terror, uncovering the material residue of those conflicts, or by disclosing their natural afterlives. It also examines those practices in which a politicised engagement with natural processes and non-human agency also provides a means to reconsider the legacy of social and cultural struggles, such as by assigning plants and animals a role in revealing social conventions and shaping the political climate at particular historical junctures. Furthermore, the shifting soils of the post-fascist, post-communist and post-colonial amalgam that fervidly troubles the present are refracted here through an environmental prism that situates them in a planetary and not just a social order. Finally, while reflecting on cultural and natural entanglements that are a constitutive part of artworks, it also questions their encoded environmental attitudes.