“I want to make an artwork for pollinators, not about them.”
Create your own Pollinator Pathmaker at www.pollinator.art
Pollinator Pathmaker is a living sculpture made of plants. Unlike most gardens, this one is designed to prioritise the needs of endangered pollinating insects, rather than to please humans. For her contribution to Back to Earth, artist Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has created an Edition of Pollinator Pathmaker which has been planted near to Serpentine in Kensington Gardens. The work is laid out in eleven beds along the length of North Flower Walk, which is located next to Lancaster Gate.
Pollinator Pathmaker is an ongoing project for Ginsberg, who has worked with horticulturalists at the Eden Project, Cornwall and pollinator experts to curate a database of plants that suit different pollinators and are suitable for specific locations. Once the conditions of the Kensington Gardens site were agreed, Ginsberg’s custom-built computer algorithm created a planting design to support the maximum number of pollinator species possible. The patterns that emerged offer pollinators including bees, moths, ants, wasps and beetles habitat, space to forage as they appear over the year, and arrangements which suit different pollinating styles.
In addition to the artwork itself, Pollinator Pathmaker also exists as a website through which anyone can ask the same algorithm to create their own planting design. To find out how you can support declining pollinator populations in the UK by planting an artwork for insects, visit pollinator.art.
Pollinator Pathmaker was originally commissioned by the Eden Project and funded by Garfield Weston Foundation. Additional founding supporters are Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture. The first International Edition of Pollinator Pathmaker was commissioned by LAS Art Foundation and opened in June 2023 in the forecourt of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
About Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters
Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters is the first contemporary art programme initiated by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. Within this context, the Archaeological Park and Serpentine’s Back to Earth team invited three artists involved in Back to Earth to share insights from ongoing research that intersects with questions connected to archaeology, archaeobotany and archaeozoology.
In a discussion jointly produced by Serpentine and the Archaeological Park, Rebecca Lewin, Serpentine’s Curator of Exhibitions and Design was in conversation with Ginsberg for the public announcement of the artist’s Pollinator Pathmaker within the Back to Earth framework.
Pompeii Commitment was conceived by Massimo Osanna and Andrea Viliani, who maintains it with Stella Bottai (Curator) and Laura Mariano (Project Manager).
About Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist examining our fraught relationships with nature and technology. Ginsberg’s work explores subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, conservation, and evolution, as she investigates the human impulse to ‘better’ the world.
Ginsberg spent over ten years experimentally engaging with the field of synthetic biology. Lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014), in 2017 she completed her PhD, Better, at the Royal College of Art, interrogating how powerful dreams of “better” futures shape the present.
Ginsberg won the World Technology Award for design in 2011, the London Design Medal for Emerging Talent 2012, and the Dezeen Changemaker Award 2019. Twice nominated for Designs of the Year (2011, 2015), her work has been described as “romantic, dangerous… and everything else that inspires us to change and question the world”. She has exhibited at MoMA New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the National Museum of China, the Centre Pompidou, and the Royal Academy, and her first solo show was at Vitra Design Museum in 2019. Her work is in permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and ZKM Karlsruhe.
Pollinator Pathmaker, Serpentine Edition Garden, is funded by Serpentine, with support from Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation and Google Arts & Culture. It was originally commissioned by the Eden Project and funded by Garfield Weston Foundation. Additional founding supporters are Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.