BOUNDED NATURE is a photographic series and installation that investigates the dialectic and tension between the natural and the man-made in urban environments; how nature is contained, pruned, and rendered “invisible”. Nature becomes dis-“figured” through de-centering, which is both a commentary and metaphor for urban dwellers’ ritualized and cultivated unconscious of their impacts on the larger environment in their everyday actions.

Urban photography has created a pervasive trope of the city to the extent we learn not to “see” nature in depictions of urban settings; our gaze cultivated instead towards the geometry and lines of the man-made. On the other hand, landscape photography (whether the unspoiled vistas of Ansel Adams, or the degraded beauty of Edward Burtynsky) have favoured exotic and far-flung locales that further distance the urban dweller in appreciating their intricate relation to the larger environment.

In hybridizing tropes of landscape and urban photography to focus on the dis-“figured” nature, BOUNDED NATURE attempts to center the relationship of the natural in the urban environment by the intimacy of the subject matter, and in shifting the discourse of weeds/decay to a symbol of optimism and struggle. The use of false-color infrared imagery renders the typically “invisible”/”ignored” nature in those settings to the foreground; and represents a new way of seeing the everyday and our relationship to the environment.


Conceived & Photographed by: STEPHEN CHEN | Completed: 04/13

[ Exhibit Website ] [ LandEscape Art Review ]

dissonance productions
Started by trans-discplinary art-ivist Stephen Chen to consolidate his recent work; as well as facilitate collaboration with others. Stephen’s oeuvre is often allegorical as well as simultaneously deconstruct and hybridize the very forms he works in. Disdaining academic and esoteric expressions, as well as institutional conventions and practices, Stephen explores complex ideas and issues immanent in his works through experiments in form and technique.

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