press release

'Reproduction Direct from Nature', a project by Amsterdam based artist Zachary Formwalt forms the second part of Future Park. Formwalt's practice could be considered as emblematic of historiography becoming a tool for futurology. Investigating how the capitalist economy operates vis-à-vis the politics of image reproduction and how urban reality is mediated by it, he works in such a manner that (archival) research and speculation meet contingency, producing plausible but as yet unwritten historical connections and stories.

In his new project 'Reproduction Direct from Nature', a photograph printed in a New York newspaper, The Daily Graphic, in 1880 offers a clue for approaching New York's Central Park from its inception. The photograph in this paper is described as being made in the immediate presence of the structures it depicts; a group of shanties in the place that we now know as Central Park. Consequently it was used in the newspaper as evidence of a new technology of reproduction, marking the birth of the photo-illustrated press. Zachary Formwalt reclaims this image to challenge the notion of nature in urban development and the role played by the mechanisms of image reproduction in the economic system, particularly in light of the current and ongoing credit crisis. Through his work connections are discovered about the circumstances relating to this photograph – the first credit panic in late nineteenth century Britain, the development of the Park, New York's housing crisis, its unacknowledged photographer and Karl Marx's notebooks (1868) about the British weekly newspaper, the Economist. These narratives are brought together through the complicated relations of historical and contemporary matters, in order to form an alternate view on current '(un)natural' surroundings, in a newly produced film, book, archive and photographs.

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Zachary Formwalt