Imaginary Ecologies

In order to acquire new forms of knowledge that exceed the limitations of our habitual perception and consciousness, an imaginary exploration of the nonhuman environment is of crucial importance. In light of today’s ecological crisis, it becomes clear that our relationship to the environment is outdated. New modes of perception for environmental relations have become necessary. Here, alternative imaginaries and new forms of knowledge production play an important role in opening up our perception to the ecological complexity of the world.
Introducing such an imaginary perspective involves challenging established forms of knowledge and familiar oppositions. As a consequence, the contrast between the rational and the irrational may start to fluctuate, while clarities and certainties become fragile; the real might move closer to the surreal, while the distinctions between life and non-life tend to get blurry. Due to its ability to visualize what remains outside of our direct perception, the medium of photography is an especially helpful instrument for changing our perspective of the nonhuman world.

Photography, then, allows us to recognize the silent fragments of nature as being different from us, but as also originating from the very same ontological ground. That we share a basic ontological reality means that we ourselves are just as much part of this network of relations – a network that consists of countless vital beings existing simultaneously and in mutual interdependence. This ecological entanglement is not an abstract or transcendent idea, but an immanent characteristic of the world we live in. Photography enables us to engage imaginatively with aspects of the world that typically escape the human eye and develop an awareness of the mutual entanglement of all (human and nonhuman) beings. Here, the photographic image becomes a tool for cognition: it not only represents the world, but makes it visible, perceptible - evoking an imaginary ecology that consists of endless interwoven lives beneath our perception.