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Jakub Skokan

Zoolandscape

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This project records forms of artificially constructed biotopes and landscape scenes of the environment of European zoological gardens. Zoological landscapes have a specific role. Their purpose is to simulate biotopes of presented animals. The animals’ environment is made artificially out of imitating materials or is reconstructed from original living products of nature. The landscape is simplified, systematized and idealized. It is adjusted to meet the aesthetic demands of a viewer and just like a stage in a theater it aims to present the animal – the performer – in the most ideal way. This project focuses on environments inside of terrariums, cages, and outdoor and indoor spaces. Photographs of these installations introduce new roles of a landscape and point out traditional anthropocentric understanding of nature in relation to the need of order and aesthetics. It is apparent from these photographs that environments found in zoological gardens do not only result from the natural living needs of the animals but also from the aesthetic requirements of humans. These two dimensional photo-translations of the landscape installations reveal visual references to landscapes known through the cultural history. The project shows a significant role of an image in understanding and creating a landscape. This is even more true in the environment of a zoological garden, which accumulates surreal scenic formations created by human beings. The exact record of these landscape installations maps out aesthetic intentions reflected in the landscapes and their spectacular impact. The project broadens options of interpretation of a photographic image of landscapes and understanding the term landscape in general.

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