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Mark Dion in "Ecology"

Mark Dion is a collector and a shopper: “I am constantly out there buying things, going to flea markets and yard sales and junk stores, and I like to surround myself with things that are inspirational.”

Intrigued by natural history and museum procedures, Dion’s collections become part of his installations and public projects that address our ideas and assumptions about nature. “I’m not one of these artists who is spending a lot of time imagining a better ecological future. I’m more the kind of artist who is holding up a mirror to the present.”

Viewers follow Dion on a journey during which he brings a “nurse log”—a fallen Hemlock tree which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna—into the heart of Seattle.

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Mark Dion

Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between “objective” (“rational”) scientific methods and “subjective” (“irrational”) influences. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.

“I’m not one of these artists who is spending a lot of time imagining a better ecological future. I’m more the kind of artist who is holding up a mirror to the present.”

Mark Dion

Artist Mark Dion discusses his 2006 installation Neukom Vivarium.

Mark Dion

1:49
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Mark Dion

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2:29
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Mark Dion

Artist Mark Dion discusses his work’s relation to performance, authority, aesthetics and humor.