(work in progress)
Lost Worlds is a visual exploration for what we perceive as nature, or natural. The environments in which I make these images are the virtual landscapes of videogames. Where these landscapes used to be cardboard backdrops, they have become seemingly unlimited worlds. Designed to seduce the player to go explore pristine landscapes, they contain lush rainforests, icy mountain ranges, rushing waterfalls and barren deserts. Well-programmed weather systems provide rain, sunshine or snow and day and night cycles add to the ‘realness’ of the experience. To achieve a sublime-as-possible experience, the designs of these landscapes borrow heavily from Romantic interpretations of nature by painters as Caspar David Friedrich and Albert Bierstadt.
These man-made landscapes show us the mental picture we collectively have of unspoiled nature. The ideal landscape image that influenced the idea of organized wilderness, is also defined as a ‘Lost World’. An image that seems to be completely detached from any physical experience. There is nothing human or technological to be seen, and at the same time these landscapes consist of only data.
It is a concept that according to contemporary (media) philosophers Koert van Mensvoort and Michiel Schwarz is based on our mental image of the Garden of Eden, as visualized by artists for centuries. When you think about it, you cannot deny that the ‘Lost World’ concept is the sum of reinterpretations of images – and ideas – of nature, that exists as long as nature’s exploitation.