Curator: Karen Verschooren (Z33)

Makoto Azuma (JP), BCL / Shiho Fukuhara (JP) and Georg Tremmel (AT), David Benqué (UK), Julien Berthier (FR), Merijn Bolink (NL), Center for PostNatural History, Mark Dion (US), Driessens & Verstappen (NL), Daisy Ginsberg (UK), Tue Greenfort (DK), Natalie Jeremijenko (US), Eduardo Kac (US), Allison Kudla (US), James King (UK), Reinier Lagendijk (NL), Antti Laitinen (FIN), Hans Op de Beeck (B), Michael Sailstorfer (D), Maarten Vanden Eynde (B), Adrian Woods (NL), Adam Zaretsky (US)


In the first Alter Nature exhibition, Alter Nature: We Can, Z33 (Hasselt – Belgium) looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this.

The works are not about using nature to meet basic needs (such as health, food, protection, etc.). Interesting projects in this context are legion, but grouped together they almost inevitably lead to simplified contradictions. On the one hand, one has projects that look ‘positively’ upon transforming nature: they find out what technology can do or they show solutions. These projects are often criticised because they seem to subscribe seamlessly to the scientific belief in progress. On the other hand, some projects show the negative side; they look at interventions in nature that have gone wrong. These projects are criticized to be the autonomous art corner’s wagging finger. They criticise but do not offer any solutions.

Alter Nature: We Can wants to go beyond this simplified pro-contra positioning. The works on display are therefore devoid of strict utilitarianism and the emphasis is on the historic context of intervention, the multiplicity of manipulations and our fluctuating understanding of the concept of nature.

In Alter Nature: We Can Z33 takes you on an amazing tour of gardens and private islands, carrots and bonsai trees, acoustic plants and orange pheasants.

Alter Nature consists of four exhibitions, each approaching the theme from a different angle. In Alter Nature: We Can (21 November 2010–13 March 2011), Z33 shows the work of 20 international artists on the theme of influencing flora and fauna.

In the CIAP exhibition Alter Nature: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (21 November 2010–13 March 2011), the focus is on the question: ‘How does humankind, as a form of nature, interferes with itself?’

The research project Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal, also in Z33 (28 January 2011–01 May 2011), presents the work of critical designers Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen. In their designs they address the possible consequences of the potential applications of new developments in bioscience and biotechnology, taking a strongly societal and relational viewpoint.

Finally, in Alter Nature: The Future That Never Was (28 January 2011–05 June 2011), the Fashion Museum Hasselt places the new functions, aesthetics and art forms that go hand in hand with the biological revolution in an historical context, alongside ideas from the 1960s and 70s that have been propelled along by technological progress

What is Z33?

Z33 is a house for contemporary art. Through projects and exhibitions Z33 makes the visitors look at everyday life in a new way. Z33 is an initiative of the government of the Belgian region Limburg and it is situated closely to Brussels, London and Amsterdam. Z33 is a unique laboratory and meetingplace for experiment and innovation. As a house for contemporary art, Z33 is a driving force for its region.