Jaguars and Electric Eels

“Nature, red in tooth and claw,” wrote the poet Tennyson in 1849, just before Darwin published his theory of evolution. In those days the words “nature” and “natural” still really meant something.  

Fast-forward a century and a half and those seemingly very distinct notions of naturalness and artificiality have become increasingly blurred in our hyper-mediatized world, a key theme of Jaguars and Electric Eels at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Berlin. The starting point for the show is the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s visits to the American continent and his trip down the Orinoco river to Venezuela. The exhibition, displayed in the building that served as the Czech cultural centre during the Cold War, contains moving-image works by the likes of Kader Attia, Isaac Julien, Sturtevant and Aaron Young, and investigates an alternative interpretation of anthropology and zoology.

It’s a remarkable collection of work on show in a remarkable setting—watch the video above for a flavour.

“Jaguars and Electric Eels” runs until 26 November https://www.jsc.berlin/en/