“Living organisms, unlike machines, organize themselves.” — Vandana Shiva
Drop by drop, crystalline snowfields slowly regain liquid form as their crusty top layers are pierced by emergent signs of life below. Shivering blades of grass peek out, as do thin shrubs waking from cryogenic sleep. Finally, the brown earth wins back solar favor and early wildflowers like poppies and buttercups joyfully open to face the sun.
The seasons ebb and flow, as do oceans, rivers, the earth’s crusts, and life force itself. The awesome grandeur of these flowing forces feel impossible to comprehend, yet your life is ultimately entangled within them, shaped by and shaping the cyclical movement of nature, thus endowing you with a priori connection to all — whether whale or virus, oak or algae.
The human tendency to perceive everything as ‘otherness’ creates dichotomies that are, therefore, not only entirely misguided but trouble our innate ability to live. Rather than embrace life’s mysterious complexity, we parse it into arbitrary segments – creating siloed conceptual systems, and tear it apart in an attempt to place ourselves above the fray, in control, unaffected.
Garden, Monoliths by Zancan is an invitation to reclaim our sense of peace within the infinitely complex entanglements of life. Each of the collection’s 255 algorithmically-generated editions snapshot the inevitable cycle of all matter, whether human or not, and humbly remind us that we are integrated within nature’s unfolding — a movement that includes an intimidating transitional element: death.
We erect statues, build cities, spread empires, and hide our wrinkles in trying to subvert death. However, empires fall, people die, and monoliths decompose, making clear the futility frontrunning our selfish attempts to become eternally extensible.
Instead, Garden, Monoliths tells us that nature and culture need not be at odds, that their true link lies not in opposition, but in the material + semiotic relationships that co-create the world. We help make the world because we are part of, not apart from – and must therefore take radical responsibility to authentically act in harmony with a world upon which we depend.
Zancan has, in the foregoing respect, led by example. The result of the artist’s deep immersion, appreciation, and connection with nature’s flow is the grass.js algorithm capable of generating randomized-yet-aesthetic wildness as surprising as a springtime country field. These remarkable natural wonders now pervade our reality, even if the programmatic origins sound anything but natural.
"I had a hard time believing his art was generated by code — how can computer instructions lead to such life-like outputs? The long-form project Garden, Monoliths was my aha moment about the genius of Zancan, and the similarities of how both nature and generative art combine randomness with a certain set of rules (whether the algorithm, or the laws of physics, chemistry, etc.) to obtain infinitely unique results." — @thefunnyguys
Garden, Monoliths embodies the actualized possibilities that emerge when nature vs. culture becomes natureculture — an era of biomimetic systems wherein matter is not separated from context, and bodies *intra-*act (rather than inter-). In this era, everything is always entangled, bodies are always porous, and forces always leave a trace.
"With the passage of time, we appreciate that true generative art grails need no comparison – they stand in a league of their own. Garden, Monoliths from breakout French generative artist Zancan is a wondrous reminder of life and death, all in one, all at once. They benefit from the perfect touch of controlled randomness that inspires moments of surprise while being instantly distinguishable, especially when plotted in size." — @galaxyRGB