“What will digital media be, and do, after us? Can we plan and act toward new and different futures?” The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures is a solo exhibition by Nathaniel Stern that begins with questions like these. The resulting installations, sculptures, prints, and photographs use e-waste and plant life to explore the questions, and their possible answers, through a process of both scientific and artistic experimentation. Computers become planter boxes, media devices are exposed to extreme conditions that mimic natural forces, and e-waste is reimagined as raw material for new creations.
“It is impossible for humans to truly fathom our planet on its own terms and at its own size, or conversely from the perspective of bacteria. But we can feel such things, through art and storytelling – making our aesthetic encounters both conceptually and ethically vital toward new possibilities. The World After Us questions how we move, think, feel, and act with the Earth and its inhabitants, both living and otherwise. It suggests alternatives to current modes of life and living, science and sensation, waste and production, perception and action.”
Nathaniel Stern holds a joint appointment at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, as Professor of Art and Design in Peck School of the Arts and of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. This dual appointment is indicative of Stern’s multidisciplinary approach to research, art, teaching, and life. Each year, he hires college students to help “think about and produce art.” Their unique perspectives, skills, and collaborations contribute to his truly forward-thinking process. Along the way, Stern teaches “artists how to engineer, engineers how to ‘art,’ and everyone how to sustain their passions.”
Cover artwork: Nathaniel Stern. The Wall After Us, 2020 and ongoing. E-waste and botanical installation.Above artwork: Nathaniel Stern. Ring Ring, 2020.
Learn more about the work on view during special tours, artist talks, and virtual events, some of which require advance registration. See all exhibition programs by clicking here.
Additional links, artist chats, and videos can be found on KAC’s Facebook page by clicking here.