By Kathryn Fleming
Examining the cultural institutions that have shaped human engagement with and perception of wild animals – The Circus, Zoological Garden, and Safari Park- this ecological prototype aims to represent the next generation of human to animal interaction.
Within ‘Regent’s Park of Evolutionary Development’, animal habitats have been specifically designed to enforce the re-adaptation and re-purposing of genetic mutations within designed species. These new breeds are engineered (evolved through synthetic biology and artificial selection) for life in a man-made wilderness. Visitors are invited to become explorers in a new age of discovery, and to consider the impact that direct contact and observation of wildlife has upon our collective imagination.
Propelled by the work of animal scientists, welfare advocates, food ethicists, ethno-botanists, sociologists, biologists, and anthropologists, this project is an attempt to question the current cultural institutions through which we relate to animals.
Utilizing taxidermy and various techniques of scientific model making, each diorama is meant to create a picture of reality that convincingly conflates the potential of science with the possibilities of fiction. By grounding each creature’s anatomy in existing morphology (a branch of biology structure within organisms and their specific features), these animals represent a speculative morphogenesis that should raise awareness of the remarkable adaptations already existing within ecologies, but also prompt viewers to question what types of experiences could be created by involving technology, human desire, and imagination in the future of our co-evolution with other forms of life.