For a community of people that appear to be more/literally involved in they ways they physically take from nature either through hunting, foraging, or chopping down trees for firewood, there seems to be a profound sense of respect and responsibility for, and knowledge of their surrounding environment and the other creatures that inhabit it.
— Dan McCabe

dan mccabe | hyrynsalmi

Most of the world’s population live in cities. While nature and the natural landscape helps define our sense of nationhood through tourism and online imagery, the time spent with nature has shifted dramatically over the last century from a normal daily interaction to the allotted timeframes of vacations and weekend trips. Today our global and urban lifestyle is increasingly separated from the natural world and our direct impact on it. Actively taking resources from “nature” is socially and ethically fraught, yet demand from consumers increases, dangerously detached from its environmental and social cost. This isn't a new revelation, yet still many parts of society continue along this contradictory and unsustainable pathway.

Using localised materials and characteristics from his residency at the Mustarinda Association as a metaphor for global challenges, Dan McCabe explores this complex relationship through large sculptural assemblages, wall based compositions and video, produced for spaced 3: north by southeast. Conflicting aspects of contemporary nature tourism, spirituality, nationalism and mass consumption are combined to prompt reflection on our current mode of living and its effect on our future. 

About the artist

Dan McCabe’s artistic practice is concerned with critically interrogating the logic of contemporary suburban and urban landscapes, and of our relationships and lived experiences within these environments.

Recent works question our contemporary relationship with the natural landscape, trying to understand the contradiction between suburbia and a longing for nature evident in pursuits such as swimming, camping and bushwalking. McCabe is interested in what drives our desire to control nature and experience it in codified forms, evident in the practices of owning and maintaining blocks of land and luxury camping, and exploring the resultant consequences of this controlled loss – what happens when it starts to unravel, or when a minority faction subverts the suburban ideal.

McCabe has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at A-CH Gallery, Griffith University Art Gallery, John Paynter Gallery, Queensland Centre for Photography, Perth Centre for Photography, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Metro Arts, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Moana Project Space and Perth Fashion Festival. This year he will be presenting Shadows on the hill, an artist-designed portable shelter, at the 2016 Next Wave Festival in Melbourne.

About the host partner

The Mustarinda Association is a group of artists and researchers, whose goal is to promote the ecological rebuilding of society, the diversity of culture and nature, and the connection between art and science.

Their activities centre on contemporary art, boundary-crossing research, practical experimentation, communication, teaching and events. The Mustarinda Association aims to foster a post-fossil culture by combining scientific knowledge and experiential artistic activity.

The Mustarinda Association is active both internationally and locally. Their activities are rooted at the Mustarinda house at the edge of the Paljakka nature reserve in Kainuu, Finland; the house has versatile spaces for artists and researchers, residencies, and is also the location for exhibitions and various events. Paljakka and Mustarinda are also some of Finland’s snowiest areas. Mustarinda is the only inhabited house on the summit.