Simulation and the Hyper-real

Over time nature changes and is altered by the ways that we as humans treat and experience it. Our digitally lead lives lead to a nostalgia for the real, for a need of ‘going back to nature, with the examples of ‘farmers markets’, ‘city farms’ and ‘nature reserves’ in our densely built urban metropolis’, offering an attempt to rescue us.

Living in a world that is so overgrown and overpopulated by constant advertising, imagery, screens and concrete, nature has become a go-to source for a break. Even urban developers look to artificial gardens, and props within their spaces to romanticise and add a sense of ‘greenery’ to the otherwise bland and omnipresent concrete blocks.

Artists have also clocked on to using the idealization of nature to revive escapism but even though the physical ritual of going ‘back to nature’ for those in a metropolitan environment is often linked with the bourgeois ‘farmers market in the city’ connotations. For the generation of artists that have grown up with the digital it’s a way to redefine how we can experience mankind’s salvation from being immersed within nature, how we can reconnect with a pastoral life whilst pushing the boundaries of art, culture and technology.

Contemporary art in the digital age reflects our obsession or inherent interest in nature. Oscar Wilde stated that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”, however now in today’s perpetually advancing world, it is evident that through the processes of simulation and simulacra this quote can be easily disproved. The use of the digital as a tool and a new medium to create artworks that simulate a wide range of plants, landscapes and environments is becoming more overt in the contemporary art world. These new technological objects are the product of a generation that have grown up seeing through screens, and from artists that are curious to explore new ways of painting, making, and engaging with their audiences. Why document nature as in traditional art mediums, when you can create your own synthesized, living version through elaborate computer systems and algorithms to create artificial life?

Here we turn to the ideas of simulation, relating back to Baudrillard’s theory of the Hyperreal and exploring the process where the lines between the original and the replication become blurred. As a result of this weakening of the “truth/falsity differential”, the simulated image often seems more authentic and cheerful than the original. This simulacrum Baudrillard called the the ‘Hyper-real’.

The Best Bogus Botanical Garden explicitly focuses on the replication of original nature. Not only have the curators chosen to exhibit artworks that simulate nature but they are also creating a false ‘Hyper-real’ environment within the white cube gallery space that replicates a sanctuary and a place to escape to, a botanical garden.