Progress vs. Sunsets Melanie Bonajo

Courtesy of the Artist & Akinci Galery Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

For many years, portrayals of the perspectives of women, queers, children and animals were practically non-existent. Melanie Bonajo presents them as protagonists of the here and now. She cleverly creates a hybrid world in which the current technological image culture is coated with a layer of nature and mystique. The artist skilfully uses and subsequently ‘bends’ our visual and consumer culture, at the same time providing us with the means to replenish today’s spiritual emptiness. With her projects, Bonajo creates an expanded consciousness, through the physical experience itself, spirituality, the link with nature, and from unique perspectives.

Progress vs Sunsets - Reformulating the Nature Documentary ( 2017) illustrates an unusual perspective on animals and the relationship we have with them. We see all manner of amazing amateur films on the internet in which animals come into contact with the humans and the human world. Today’s ‘nature’ is not the same as that portrayed in conventional nature films, in which animals are depicted with as little human contact as possible. In this film, children describe how they feel about the relationship between animals and people: What would you do if you woke up alone in the wilderness? Are people animals? Do animals have the right to privacy?

One boy in the film says: “I wouldn’t like it if animals had iPhones or iPads or toys. They’d be too much like human beings. And I think…I just think that animals, well animals should stay as they are, and that they should just, er, then we could sort of enjoy them more.”