CATALOGUE Among the Garbage and the Flowers - Flipbook - Page 14
How We See It
Many birds, bees and butterflies can see ultraviolet light, which is
invisible to humans. Picking up the ultraviolet torches reveals the
hidden words and thoughts of people working to protect the natural
world. We can never truly look through nature's eyes, but the more
time we spend in nature, the more we will understand.
What the work addresses and our process:
Scientists tend to aim to communicate their findings in a clear, concise and
impartial manner. This is important for maintaining the integrity of
scientific research and to make it as accessible as possible to policymakers.
However, such systematic presentation casts a veil over the motivations for
the research taking place in the first instance. Behind each scientific
publication is a web of people whose lives are interwoven with its creation
in different ways. There are people who live and work in the places under
study, people collecting data on the ground, people analysing data, and
people summarising findings. There are untold stories of the connection of
each of these people to the creation of a final scientific publication, which
you might liken to the pristine tip of an iceberg which only hints at what is
In this artwork we uncover some of these stories, focussing on those of
researchers analysing and synthesising data on nature-based solutions. We
started by asking members of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative and
other researchers to journey to a nearby outdoor space that they love, and
write about why they care about the place, why they love the environment
more broadly, and why they choose to dedicate their work to helping
humans live in harmony with nature. We also asked people to suggest an
element of the environment – an object, scent, sound, feeling – that sums
up their love for nature. We then identified the common themes emerging
from the responses and found that they formed a connected network of ideas. Here we display these
snapshots of thoughts and feelings for you to explore. To explore the artwork in full you must use ultraviolet
torches, which allow you to see like a bird, bee or butterfly. Only by trying to see through nature’s eyes can
we truly understand nature and our place within it.
Our collaboration process: We met regularly in a park to discuss our thoughts on how the artwork could
develop. We used mind-mapping as a method for recording and stimulating discussion and to develop ideas
over time, and so mind maps seemed a natural medium for the final outcome.The artist observed that the
researchers held a great deal of passion for their work, yet this did not come across in their written outputs.
We were inspired, therefore, to create a piece of artwork that explores the intricacies of these passions and
make these evident to the outside world. Perhaps there is reason for scientific practice to evolve to not hide
away the feelings of scientists; perhaps this could even make science easier to understand and therefore
Nature-Based Solutions Initiative:
Nature-based Solutions are actions that
involve working with nature to address
societal challenges, providing benefits for
both human well-being and biodiversity.
Specifically they are actions that involve
management of natural and semi-natural
ecosystems; the sustainable management
of aquatic systems and working lands
such as croplands or timberlands; or the
creation of novel ecosystems in and
around cities. They are actions that are
underpinned by biodiversity and are
designed and implemented with the full
engagement and consent of local
communities and Indigenous Peoples.
The Nature-based Solutions Initiative is
an interdisciplinary team of natural and
social scientists seeking to shape policy
and practice of nature-based solutions through research,
teaching and engagement with policymakers and practitioners.
We are based in the Geography and Zoology Departments or
the University of Oxford, but we also have teams in Peru and
Bangladesh, and collaborate with economists, engineers,
governance and finance experts.