Natalie Koffman and Flora Gregory met while doing the MA in Social Sculpture and Connective Practice at Oxford Brookes University (2016-2018). They found a mutual interest in exploring the Human-Nature relationship, and together have been developing Nature Rights.
Natalie has worked with photography as a form of social commentary and as a means to reflect on humans' relationship with nature, in particular humans disconnect from nature and desire to control it, and view it as a human resource. This combined with a life-long interest in mental health and wellbeing inform the questions that underpin her work. In her teens, she was deeply affected by the film Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, a 1982 experimental cult film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music by Philip Glass. The film, acted as a catalyst to her thinking about the ways in which our perception of the world are formed and how re-presenting the familiar in unfamiliar ways can allow new ways of seeing.
As a child Flora often went walking in the woods to find her answers. After many years of racing together, now Jack her horse reminds her of the many answers that can be found with the help of nature. As he is older, Flora walks him out in a head collar and he reminds her of what she does not know. He helps her go slowly and quietly and listen and think about what she finds. Jack reads the tracks that they walk - he can tell what has gone before, he can hear things far away, and he looks for and likes particular food when they go foraging – which encourages her to explore possibilities for wild eating too.
Social Sculpture is an extended concept of art, coined by the conceptual and performance artist and co-founder of the German Green Party Joseph Beuys in the 1960/70/80s. Beuys believed that everyone is an artist and that art had the potential to transform society. Through human activity we can structure and shape society and the environment. It's up to all of us to choose.
Inspiration for Flora and Natalie's work has come from various places. These include looking at the history of our Human-Nature relationship; the groundswell of grassroots community environmental action; the Eradicating Ecocide movement and discussions around giving Nature legal personhood.
Prior to her MA, Flora did a BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Practice at Middlesex University. She works as a social sculpture practitioner and as an international documentary curator. Recent socially engaged work includes 'Health and Well Being Dispensary', 'Join Us In Mesopotamia', 'Come and Lie In the Hay!', 'Do You Have A Special Relationship With an Other Than Human ?' , 'Nature Rights' and 'The Map Room: Wychwood Project' and 'Come Into The Woods'.
Natalie, prior to her MA, completed a BA in Photographic Arts at London College of Communication. She works as a social sculptor practitioner, photographer and in the areas of health and wellbeing. She is currently exploring the potential of public participation, dialogue, the collective imagination and storytelling as a catalyst for social and ecological transformation.
Recent socially engaged work includes ‘100:100:20’ ‘ (In) Memoriam – The Alternative Jack the Ripper Walking Tour’ 'Inventory of Stuff', '30 minutes to Pack a Bag', 'Seed', 'Hope Map', 'The Inverted Ark' and 'Nature Rights'.