Museum of Nature
With his series, Museum of Nature (2000), Ilkka Halso created a variety of visuals that explore ambiguous dystopic futures in which nature has vanished due to the reckless exploitations of humanity. These works not only point out the catastrophically, irreversible consequences of our actions but also seek to raise awareness for the environmental changes that derive from our own actions. The playfulness of the sceneries, such as the joyride in Rollercoaster (2004) or the stage surrounded by red seats in Theater I (2003) hits the viewer with its ironic undertone. The depleted nature appears either as a precious legacy that needs to be kept alive by all cost and put under strict supervision, or is being used for entertainment purposes only. Compared to other series of Halso’s, these works attempt to neglect aesthetic value and instead put more emphasis on reshaping our perception of nature as a resource and something to be exploited to a point of no return.
Critical, yet prophetic, the images remind us of early science-fiction in which nature does not exist anymore, failed attempts of creating biospheres by sealing forests away under domes, in shelters or protective glasshouses – an approach we partially already know through concepts like ‘national parks’, reserves and sanctuaries that aim to preserve ecosystems for the generations to follow. Halso creates these massive constructions digitally, thereby further increasing the absurdness in terms of dimensions: "The digital process is constantly present in the works. I am combining freely photographs of landscapes and computer-generated 3D-models. Works are visualized building plans, plans I do not want to see realized.” The pessimistic, highly artificial atmosphere is being well opposed to the viewers expectation of nature as something that is in their possession, and not as exhibits out of their reach. Halso is an observer, he reflects on our naïve faith in technology, and questions if we will actually still be able to raise the means on time for preserving nature like this.