Natural Law at Busan Biennale


Natural Law by Princess Dragonmom
Video – color – 6 min 41 sec – 2003

In Ronald Cornelissen, Davin Brainard and Warn Defever’s video Natural Law we see a man dressed as a tree fight a man dressed as a bush on the sidewalk of an anonymous Detroit street. No reason for their altercation is given, and as we watch them clash in their cardboard costumes (reminiscent of props produced for a school play, or foliage from a cartoon landscape) we wonder what has motivated these usually peaceable vegetable life-forms to violence. One answer might be provided by the title of the piece, which evokes the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ First Law of Nature: ‘That every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has a hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war’. As for man, so, it seems, for plants. The result is a work in which political economy winds around dumb pop thrills and laughter and horror uneasily commingle.

Text by Tom Morton for the Busan Biennale catalogue.

Photo’s/foto’s: Seung-Hyun