In the course of the Kollisionen (collisions) 2016 of the Udk Berlin the Hybrid Plattform (Nina Horstmann) offered together with the artist Alexandra Toland a week of interdisciplinary exploration of ecosystem services.
The concept of ecosystem services (ESS) – e.g. the pollination of fruit trees, filtration of atmospheric dust or the storage of carbon – is an economic approach to the valuation of nature widely encountered in the western world. Nature is considered a form of raw material and provider of services, which not only affects our relationships with the environment but also to the way animals, plants, water, rocks, and clouds are depicted.
The level of detail in regards to the morphological qualities of these depictions as well as the understanding and deconstructing of concepts of nature and environment in the age of Man – the so-called Anthropocene – must be aesthetically and ethically evaluated. As in the past, the burden of representation falls on contemporary artists to communicate and critically reflect upon the valuation of nature and the scientific knowledge that supports it.
Within the week of Kollisionen students gained a general understanding of ecosystem services and their depiction. Background literature, short lectures by experts and excursions gave the necessary input and stimulation. Within these excursions, or urban safaris, the participants identifed, maped and documented edsome of the eco system services they encounter in their daily lives in order to later engage with them in groups. Furthermore the focus of the project were the process and methods of inter- and transdisciplinary work within an art and science context. The result has been three exciting projects Egofix, HIVE MIND and Urban Gardening.