VIEWS OF PARADISE (United Kingdom), photographic archive, dimensions variable, 2010
Zoological gardens occupy an ambiguous position in society, as they can be seen as a space of protection as well as a space of imprisonment. Protection comes from their work with conservation, research and education. Imprisonment derives from their early format as 'menageries', a place for exhibition of exotic species of animals meant to simply entertain the human curiosity. This ambiguity is a reflection of our need to care for our environment against our inability to re-create, in the zoo, an environment as perfect as nature itself; or to preserve it in the wild.
VIEWS OF PARADISE: A WORLD ATLAS OF THE ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENTS OF ZOO CAGES is a research project that aims to form an archive of images of the artificial environments of zoological gardens and aquariums, and to create artistic works based on those environments. The image archive documents and identifies characteristics of the zoos that are related to its region's natural and cultural environments, making a comparison with past works realized elsewhere. It is also an investigation on the relations between the zoo and the concepts of Paradise, Utopia, Dystopia and Heterotopia.
The project has been photographed in Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil, Australia,New Caledonia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
© Frederico Câmara 2010