ARTIQ Reviews: Eco-Visionaries at Royal Academy of Arts

The ‘Eco Visionaries’ exhibition at the Royal Academy showcases a direct response to the accelerated effects of human life on the planet, as a variety of artists collaborate to demonstrate the complex ecological, social and political repercussions of our global issue. The exhibition includes works by Olaf Eliasson, Virgil Abloh, Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and many more, who each offer their own critique, offering optimism and at times dystopic responses to the ways in which we need to reconnect with nature and the environment.

The exhibition communicates through a range of media the ways in which human life has affected the eco system as well as suggestions for its repair; including a performative video piece showing Norwegian farmers ceremoniously donating soil to a communal plot of land to create an urban ecology site, to plastic eating organs named plastivores, serving as an imaginary lifeform able to consume, digest and process life through consuming plastic. Artist, Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, directly responds to the issues of extinction with a demonstrative artificial intelligence video piece. The Substitute is a large-scale projection of the now extinct, Sudanese rhinoceros in a virtual white cube space. Through this piece, Ginsberg brings to our attention the seemingly human impulse and preoccupation with showing what was rather than preserving what we have already. The use of artificial intelligence combined with exclusive zoology footage brings to the surface the moral and ethical dilemmas of the role that technology plays within society.

The exhibition concludes with a futuristic and rather disconcerting immersive installation piece. In Win>< Win, by the collective, Rimini Protokoll, we are taken on a narrated journey, confronted by our own reflections and asked to contemplate questions about our own existence. This ethereal and hypnotic installation creates a dialogue of reflection, a moment to process and observe what our roles are on this planet that we share.

In this timely exhibition, The RA presents to us a powerful and dynamic call for global change and demonstrates the detrimental consequences if we fail to do so.

Eco-Visionaries
Royal Academy of Arts
23rd November – 23rd February 2020

Review by Isabelle Guyer, Curator, ARTIQ