In the late 1990s and early 2000s questions of nature and life morphed with contemporary art in new ways.
Under the influence of new media technologies and digital networks, artists came to challenge modern ideas of nature in how it had been viewed and historicized. In an exploration of a body of photographic works—Neue Welt— made by the German artist Wolfgang Tillmans in and around 2010, this essay argues that at this particular time, digital technologies came to be explored as autonomous machines that could produce new forms of connections, between living and dead matter on Earth. Within the context of digital art photography, the technology of photography presented itself as a quasi-living subject endowed with some social abilities to enter and construe new forms of alliances in the world, providing new perspectives to ideas of subjectivity and agency. Focusing on photography’s peculiar alliance with parallel ecologies connected via the machine, this essay argues that new conceptions of nature and social ontologies emerged at this time as photography entered its digital mode of existence.