A labyrinth of 17 interconnected artist worlds, questioning the role of The Human As Part of Ecology. Terra Nexus is an immersive exhibition curated by Gabriella Sonabend at Proposition Studios.

Starting with the fundamental idea that we need to shift away from a narrative of human dominion and independence in order to protect the biosphere, installations explore: the necessity of living soil; the perpetual migration of species; the cascading threat of impending extinctions; ways to reconnect with nature; conflict arising from depleted resources; the future of cities and how humans will live within them. From the perspectives of insects and animals, through the eyes of scientists, artificial intelligence, plant life, ancient cultures and conflicting contemporary viewpoints; Terra Nexus is a wormhole of ideas.

Perniciem Karesansui is a cascading Zen garden. It meditates on the epochs of major extinctions and locates the viewer in this present moment as humanity faces the sixth mass extinction. It longs for a collective conscious awakening through which humanity is enlightened to regenerate the biosphere and in doing so, save itself. At the heart of the piece hangs a meteorite; a reminder of the fragility of Earth and the enormity of the unknown beyond.

At the centre of the installation hangs a 4.5 billion year old iron meteorite which was observed falling to earth in 1516 near the city of Nantan in China. It burst during passage through the atmosphere and the pieces were scattered in a strewn field 28 kilometres long and 8 kilometres wide. This fragment was not retrieved until 1958, when many meteorites were gathered for smelting to make metal for the growing industrialization of China. The largest fragment of Nantan meteorite is on display at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

The meteorite has been feared & revered as a symbol of extinction & death in many ancient cultures. The Ngarrindjeri of Australia told of a being named Kulda who would manifest as a meteor emerging from the Southern Cross, warning the people of a disease epidemic. This led the people to shout peika baki meaning “death is coming” & was later seen as a warning for the smallpox epidemic that followed.

The meteorite hangs from a cord handmade by Helena using New Zealand Flax from Martin Crawford’s forest garden. Ropes and knots are among the oldest technologies and may even predate the use of fire. Here the cord represents the timeline of human history. In a rock garden the standing rocks symbolise mountains and strength, here the meteorite casts a shadow on a chalk rock representing the fragility of the planet.