The Stories of Nature

"The Stories of Nature" maps the diverse areas in which “nature” is studied through the pedagogical structure of the academia as a means to decipher the representational mechanisms through which “nature” is processed. The installation maps the systems of representation that is operative in the construct of specimens of “nature” as well as in the image or logic devices that produce mimetic or analogous representations of “nature.” The intent is to pose the question of “what is nature?” as a product of representation.

Three greenhouses, installed on Cornell's Arts Quad, exhibit the specimens gathered from the various research centers, laboratories, and departments that study the diverse aspects of “nature” at the university. The collected specimens are categorized and formatted to establish three distinct taxonomies of representation in the study of nature within the three greenhouses. The fragmented and disassociated individual specimens will document the pedagogical classification system of the various departments at Cornell while the assembly and configuration of the artifacts as a whole will present a cultivated “image of nature.” The project is an attempt to navigate between the scientific understanding of nature and the cultural construct of nature as one of the many researches on campus.

Approximately 40 members of various departments and research centers at Cornell participated as collaborators of the installation. The project is sponsored by the Cornell Council for the Arts and the Department of Architecture, and was directed by Visiting Critic Yehre Suh, architecture. The project is assisted by Jae Lee, Karl Tsui, Natalya Maliyeva, Richard Jaenson, Ryland Thomas Dandreta, Steven Yaros, and Taek Han.

Participating Affiliate Departments and Research Centers:

  • Bioanalytical Microsystems and Biosensors Laboratory
  • Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
  • Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Cornell Waste Management Institute
  • Department of Animal Science
  • Department of Architecture
  • Department of Biological & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Development Sociology
  • Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Department of Entomology
  • Department of Food Science
  • Department of Geological Sciences
  • Department of Horticulture
  • Department of Human Development
  • Department of Microbiology
  • Department of Neurobiology & Behavior
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Plant Biology
  • Department of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology
  • Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Reproductive Medicine
  • Division of Nutritional Sciences
  • Institute for Genomic Diversity
  • International Professional Development Programs
  • Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds
  • School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Small Grains Program
  • Stem Cell Program