Liam Young, 09 03 10

The first installment of an ongoing project.  Chapter 1: the electric aurora.

In the preface to his 1957 bestiary ‘The Book of Imaginary Beings’ Jorge Luis Borges describes a child’s first visit to the zoo. With wonder and joy the child marvels at the strangeness and mysteries of the unfamiliar creatures that they have never before seen. This encounter with a zoo of the real sits within the catalogue of a zoo of mythology, inhabited by ‘necessary monsters’ which are imbued with the dreams and fears of those who conjured them.

Today our idealistic views of the natural world are becoming outmoded. We are beginning to encounter a new form of nature that seems born of the scientists of myth and allegory. The augmented body, genetic modification and neo biological invention is now confronting us with the
utterly novel reality of engineered ‘monsters’. This project engages with this call to redefine the very nature of nature by exploring the potential of monstrous myths and fictions as critical tools with which to engage with emerging environmental conditions and the evolving perception of nature in contemporary culture.

These questions are developed through “Specimens of Unnatural History”, a contemporary recasting of the bestiaries of the past As a zoological voyeur it explores the savannas of body modification, anime, taxidermy and biotechnology to gaze out across the near future population of this augmented wilderness.

This first instalment is an electric aurora. Thousands of these creatures swarm like locusts through the night sky, glowing within illuminated clouds.

These monsters form critical instruments through which to view the potential of a transformed nature, perverted by the hybridization of culture and technology.

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