Immortality via jellyfish?
Synthetic tiger genitalia?
An interspecies history in two timestamps: from a 45,000-year-old cave painting of a wild pig in Indonesia to Elon Musk inserting a Neuralink chip into the brain of Gertrude the pig.
As we begin the third decade of the 21st century at the pace of COVID-19, an interspecies-transmitted virus, we realize that our anthropocentric fantasies may be more vulnerable than previously imagined. With genetic manipulation becoming exponentially more sophisticated and the capitalocene fueling planetary ecological collapse, how do we define and reinvent our relationship with nature and the other 99.99% of living beings moving forward?
Interspecies Futures [IF] is the first survey of bookworks by leading international practitioners from the contemporary fields of bio-art and speculative design who have turned to the codex as a tool for the proposal of alternative human-nonhuman scenarios.
Informed by methods from conceptual art, posthumanism, biotechnology (CRISPR), and emerging interfaces (AI, VR, 3D printing), these artists produce documents that defy the borders between fiction and reality. In their hands field guides, lost diaries, investigative dossiers, lab journals, corporate catalogues become portals into multiple interspecies possibilities.
[IF] introduces practices that cover a large range of positions toward the nonhuman. Some of the books propose new eco-conscious alternatives, as in Non Flowers, 2021 by Thomas Pausz (FR/IS). Other books imply trans-species dreams such as the 2046 diaries of a scientist in Aurelia Immortal, 2017 by Javier Viver (ES). Some works pose new dilemmas, as in Dodo in the Room, 2019 by Ege Kokel (TU/AT), which predicts a wave of de-extinction pets. Some of the futures imagined are collaborative, like the sonic experiments in Transversal is a Loop, 2019 by Saša Spačal (SI). We even find proposals for post COVID-19 realities, as in Kuang-Yi Ku (TW) whose Tiger Penis Project, 2018, imagines the end of wildlife trade in Chinese medicine via lab-grown animal parts; or Noam Youngrak Son (KR), whose Becoming a Bat, 2021, appeals to solidarity with virus-carrying species via a book designed to be perceived primarily by nonhumans.
In addition, the show will mark the official debut of four new artist books, as well as an exclusive interview with Thomas Thwaites, author of the controversial speculative performance project GoatMan, as well as with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, whose biodesign work has infiltrated the covers of various scientific journals. Finally [IF] will present a special spotlight into the publishing experiments of visionary scientist-artist Dougal Dixon, the father of Speculative Zoology, who will contribute some reflections and never-before-seen artwork and annotations of his latest masterpiece: Greenworld.