Olaf Otto Becker’s project ‘Reading the Landscape’ – juxtaposing the changes to landscape in the primary forests of Indonesia and Malaysia in three Habitat series – idyllic dreamlike places, ravaged, barren terrains and artificially created greenery. And all as a result of the paradox of the power and interests of the western world to destroy and preserve nature.
“Humans destroy primary forests, which have been growing for millions of years, within decades. Within the last thirty years almost ninety percent of the forests in Indonesia have been destroyed and replaced by monoculture. At the same time, humans create a version of nature according to their own imaginations in the megacities of the world, turning nature into a product… My pictures and videos are an attempt to report on what I’ve experienced, on what I’ve seen with my own eyes and what has, for that reason, deeply moved me… While researching the subject, it first seemed to me almost paradoxical that the so-called western world was behind both the destruction of the primary habitats and the attempts to protect them. I saw how both sides in the conflict were using impoverished and poorly-educated local populations for their own interests. For the most part, local people can only powerlessly watch as these dramatic changes take place.”