Nature and Culture (thoughts and research)

For the past few days, I’ve been frustrated. My original idea was to use a diptych to portray nature shaping culture. However, as I started my research things got difficult quickly. Whenever I Googled something along the lines of “nature vs. culture” I would get results that talked about human nature and culture rather than the outdoors kind of nature with plants and animals. So then I thought maybe if I specified by saying “climate change vs. culture” better results would pop up. But of course, the Internet trolled me a second time and decided to present me with articles regarding the difference between a culture and a climate of a workplace.

Google was starting to get punny with me. -_-

However, eventually I did find a useful article that was a good, informative read regarding the relationship between culture and nature…but man did it make my head hurt. It looks like I might actually end up talking about all 3 of my concepts at this rate.

In short, nature and culture are comparable to yin and yang. They are interlocked in a give and take relationship. Constantly in flux, they are both at war and peace with one another.

Culture is a convention that we humans created and therefor an illusion as it is inconsistent. It changes as we change. And because it is based on our ever changing whims, culture is a representation of freedom. Meanwhile, nature is a reality that is based on permanence, regularity, and stability (ex: the recurring seasons). Therefore it is predictable, constrained, and predetermined. But of course, these definitions are not rigid.

The reading goes on to describe more of nature and culture and can be found here: http://www.hypergeo.eu/spip.php?article354  (I’m not going to summarize any further otherwise this post will go on for like 5ever. Just read it for yourself, it’s worth it.)

So now I’m conflicted because I can’t speak in definite terms of the relationship between culture and nature–it’s too fluid. Certain aspects of the relationship are peaceful while others clash. At one point in time, humanity centered it’s religion and social practices around whatever nature threw at it. Today, nature conforms to humanity for the most part. We cut it down, we harness it, we cultivate it–all for our convenience and aesthetic wants. [Occasionally, nature will break out of its confines (ex: a large animal escaping the zoo or some kind of unwarranted natural disaster). ]

This leads to the question: “What allowed for the switch in nature and culture’s relationship?” At this point, I’m 99.999999% sure that it’s technology. Because of developments in science we came to discover new ways to conveniently complete tasks that once use to be difficult. We debunked myths and came to realize that the sun is a burning hot ball of plasma and gas and that sun gods have nothing to do with it.

As of right now, I’ve got some thoughts and ideas floating around in my head on how I want show this dynamic relationship…not quite sure I can articulate them yet. Might update again when I come up with something a little more solid.

Water Gun

 

water-gun-illustration.jpg
Original tutorial image
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Progress screen shot.
Water gun-01.png
Finished water gun.

The tutorial has been linked to the first picture. Just click on it to go there. I ended up not adding any texture to my water gun because Adobe Illustrator crashed around 10 times if not more (I kind of actually lost count) as I was doing this….and I kept having to start over because you’d THINK that after the 5th time, I’d remember to press save…EXCEPT THAT I FREAKING DIDN’T UGH. This water gun seriously tried my life. Also the tutorial was really annoying to follow because all the steps were closeups of the parts that he was working on so I had no context whatsoever when it came to scale. The amount of times that I had to resize everything was ridiculous. I did learn some very long [complicated] techniques though that will be useful later on down the line. I’ve never been so frustrated by a tutorial though.

Nature Ideas

1. Nature shapes culture.

The first thing that comes to mind are the tribal cultures that existed during colonial times. Because of their environment and their need for plants to flourish, traditions and cultures developed that placed nature at the center (ex: the Incans and Aztecs). Even today, there are still cultures that exist and differ from one another due to the different regions and varying temperatures of the planet.

2. Nature and civilization at war.

Honestly, whenever I stop to take a look at the buildings around me I feel terrible. I start thinking of the amount of trees and land that we’ve had to clear in order to create a city. I think of the animals that have been chased out of their homes for the sakes of our shopping centers and cookie cutter apartment complexes. Then I start thinking of all the species that we have driven to extinction through hunting.

3. Nature and civilization at peace.

On the same tokens though, there are still places in the world where nature and civilization coexist in peace. They are the less developed areas where people still live in villages. They don’t miss technology either. Then there are the places that are purposely designed to be eco friendly and create the least amount of damage possible for the environment while providing the human race with a place for recreation and living.

So yeah, those are my ideas for now. I think I’m most interested in number one.

Final Project and Artist Statement

Final-Gender-Standards

The first thing that comes to mind when the terms “gender standards”, “gender roles”, or “gender norms” appear is typically women. It makes sense. For centuries women were oppressed by the patriarchy, unable to get an education, work, or own land. Women were expected to conform to society’s constructs of femininity. But as time has progressed, so have society’s standards. Today, women are gradually gaining equality and earning their freedom. However, in order for there to ever be true equality, equal amounts of attention must be paid to the social issues of both women and men–regardless of which has been the oppressor and which has been the oppressed. Prioritizing the issues of one gender over another can prove to be detrimental in the fight for social freedom and the removal of labels.

I believe that a key part of misogyny stems from the pressure that men face to be considered “manly”. This is why rather than having a female protagonist, I chose to use a male protagonist in my GIF. The GIF’s handmade quality is meant to communicate authenticity while the comedic narrative is meant to lighten the mood while addressing a serious topic. Paper dolls are generally associated as something feminine yet the character is male. The character appears to be female at first but after the removal of makeup and a wig, the audience discovers that they have been watching a male this entire time. Most who see the GIF would be surprised at the plot twist, but not offended. Most likely, they would laugh at the character’s antics. This reaction, paired with the GIF’s contradictions of the concept of male and female, are meant illustrate the decay of society’s gender standards and the evolution of our society as a whole.