Installing Environmental Stewardship: Installation Artworks and the Capacity to Convey Nature Experience




Leonard, Layne

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



With the Scientific Revolution, the scientific method excluded the intrinsic tie between humans and nature. Our understanding of the natural world becomes increasingly limited as over-controlled experiments continue to disregard the naturally occurring variables and interdependent relationships that make up the environment. Recognizing the interconnectedness of natural processes allows us to build empathy toward the environment as we become conscious of the role we play; humans are not separate from nature. At our pace of ecological destruction, we must step out of the labs and into the natural world to understand its intrinsic value. Due to environmental injustice and poor communication, marginalized communities have decreasing access to green spaces and ecological information. Art installations non-conventionally provide access to nature knowledge and experiences that focus explicitly on the interconnectedness of universal processes and our place as humans. Three case studies of installation art will show how the artists intended a unique space for visitors to explore nature first-hand. Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field provides conceptual accessibility for visitors to explore the ideas of geologic scale, time, and the place of a human-made structure. Shigeko Kubota's Three Mountains was a multi-sensory experience built as a museum installation that allowed visitors to experience driving through the Navajo landscape. Adrian Villar Rojas's The Theatre of Disappearance explores the proximity between humans and the thousands of millions of years of geological strata that shape our environments. These artworks successfully create conceptually and physically accessible nature experiences.



installation art, environmental education, art education, environmental art, ecocriticism, contemporary art, Goethe, green space, eco-art, accessibility, sustainability, Honors College


Leonard, L. E. (2020). Installing environmental stewardship: Installation artworks and the capacity to convey nature experience (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI