Invasion Aesthetics is a collection of work by the artists Jasmin Märker, whose practice is situated at the cross-sections of bio-art and environmental art.
The main body of work on show, produced during her two years on the Freelands Artist Programme, stems from three main fields of research: colonialist ideologies in nature; discourses in biodiversity and conservation.
It responds to questions such as: What inherent views affect our decision to label non-humans invasives? What informs the division of territories such as ‘garden’ and ‘wilderness’? And why do we bring desired species into one, but despise them when they dare to transcend into others?
In pursuit of answers, the artist acquired considerable ecological knowledge and conducted relevant fieldwork, pedalling countless miles on the bike and scouting the landscape in and around Belfast, particularly her beloved Belfast Hills. She transported many jars of soil to her studio/ laboratory, swabbed cotton tips on agar plates, collected deranged specimens and prepared Erlenmeyer flasks of solutions.
Though her finding process resembles foraging, the artist was not looking for food, but for the invisible – traces of underground networks and nature’s creativity that could overthrow anthropocentric binaries and hierarchical classifications.
The project includes works utilising many processes and non-art materials such as soil paper making, paper chromatography, image-making with micro-organism and collaging organic material. The many processes, borrowing tools from science and art making alike, are reflective of the complicated ecosystems Jasmin Märker is trying to uncover. Her practice, situated between field, laboratory and artist studio, opens a new and relevant work process, escaping categories and thus gaining a more universal insight.
Invasion Aesthetics is a critical look at tidy lawns and monoculture and a celebration of messy landscapes. It is an attempt to try to find order within chaos, still too complex for humanity to understand.