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The theme and curatorial concept for Resonances IV 

NaturArchy: Towards a Natural Contract

We dominate and appropriate [nature]... Our fundamental relationship with objects comes down to war and property.

Michel Serres, 1995, The Natural Contract

Trees, forests, rivers, mountains, seas, stardust, DNA — imagine the environment not as the backdrop of our activities, imagine objects of nature not as items to be appropriated or exploited, but as subjects with intrinsic value and full juridical rights. Cancel the tired subject-object dichotomy between person and environment, the obsolete opposition nature and culture that does not hold in view of modern scientific discoveries; do away with conditions of mastery, appropriation, and submission; reimagine human concerns as unreservedly dependent on the natural world, integrated within nature. Only such a shift in our conceptualisation of nature can change our deep relation to the matter, species, ecosystems around us. A real Green Deal requires a systemic change of ground.

Arenes art
© Alexandra Arènes


Pushing beyond Rousseau’s social contract, "NaturArchy: towards a Natural Contract", calls for a more inclusive and equitable contract with our environment. Establishing a different relation with nature is a prime condition to acquire the necessary attitudes and skills to combat global warming. To limit our tremendous environmental impact. To free nature from the onslaught of human development – do we need to rearticulate her immanent sovereignty and decolonise her into sustainability again?



Simply ensure legally enforceable rights to natural entities: and suddenly any decision as to what is the right or wrong action concerning the environment no longer hinges on human concerns. Trees, planets, clouds and roots: we want to explore how the material world matters, develop ways to understand the languages of nature and their legitimacy. Moulds, yeasts, grains, herbs: we also want to deepen our collective awareness on the tremendous legacy of humans in their intercourse with nature.

NaturArchy aims to explore – through artistic, scientific and legal expressions – how providing Nature and its phenomena with a contract that integrates her totally into our society can redefine our anthropocentric relationship with Nature. Intersecting science and law, reason and style, art and judgment, policy and imagination, NaturArchy wants to re-imagine the western relation of human and non-human, in an attempt to ensure juridical persona to Nature’s many wonders, be they stardust or DNA.


Goya Quicksand
Franscisco de Goya y Lucientes, Duel with Cudgels, 1820
NaturArchy Curatorial Statement
(162.76 KB - PDF)


Core topics we will explore through the narrative of NaturArchy.

topic 1
Nature & Law:
Rights of Nature | Ecocide | Environmental Rights | Global Environmental Justice | Decolonising Nature
topic 2
Human & Non-Human Agency:
Voices of Nature | Codes & Languages | Biodiversity | sixth extinction | One Health, Planetary Health | Identity Meaning & Values | Deep Ecology
topic 3
Techno Green:
Green technologies | Green Infrastructure | Bio-based materials | Nature-based Solutions
topic 4
Indigenous Knowledge and Decolonisation:
Ancestral & New Knowledges | Intangible Heritage | Climate Heritage | Human Rights | Performativity and Ontologies 
topic 5
Circular Gaia:
Natural Resources | De-Growth | Post-Growth | Sustainable Agriculture | One Health | Rights to a Healthy Environment



Follow the timeline of Resonances IV.

Responses to the Curatorial Statement

Check out these spin-off projects developed in response to and in dialogue with the curatorial concept on NaturArchy.