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“I want to make an artwork for pollinators, not about them.”

As part of Back to Earth, artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is presenting an as-yet-untitled project conceived for – rather than about – pollinators.

Developed in response to the Eden Project, Cornwall’s three-year project, Create a Buzz, which focuses on telling the story of UK’s native pollinators, Ginsberg’s work will also feature as part of the Serpentine’s Back to Earth project in Autumn 2021. As part of Eden’s commission, Ginsberg has developed a special algorithm that optimises garden designs – including plant species and layout – for pollinators rather than humans. This will result in a new outdoor garden commission on site in Cornwall – whose preparatory sketches are featured here –, as well as a new website through which audiences will be able to develop their own garden design using the same algorithm.

As part of the Serpentine’s Back to Earth project, the Serpentine will work with Eden Project and with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg to investigate the possibility of a London garden optimised for pollinators, and to disseminate the website to its audiences and networks, with the aim of multiplying the number of pollinator-optimised gardens worldwide.

As a first release within the Back to Earth framework, Ginsberg had a conversation with Serpentine’s Curator of Exhibition and Design, Rebecca Lewin, in a discussion jointly produced on the occasion of a collaboration between Serpentine and the Archaeological Park of Pompeii’s contemporary art platform, Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters.

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

About Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Italy and Serpentine’s Back to Earth project have teamed up in the context of Pompeii’s first contemporary art programme, Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, inviting three artists involved in the Serpentine’s Back to Earth project to share insights from their ongoing research which intersects with questions connected to archaeology, archaeobotany and archaeozoology.

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

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.

Credits

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s pollinator commission for the Eden Project is funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional partners Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.

Pompeii Commitment was conceived by Massimo Osanna and Andrea Viliani, who maintains it with Stella Bottai (Curator) and Laura Mariano (Project Manager).

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

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