Genetic engineering has been working for decades on the conservation of species, using different techniques and goals depending on the species, the habitat, the economic resources to do so and the historical period. Perhaps one of the most interesting processes, one which is particularly symptomatic for highlighting human intervention in nature, is what is called de-extinction. This is a fluid concept that basically indicates the practices through which extinct species are brought back to life. In the context of the increasingly drastic reduction of species, we can assume that the species with which we will live will be precisely those that we decide to save and keep alive, through, amongst other things, genetic databases and bodily interventions that become increasingly hybrid and increasingly post-animal. This sculpture specifically bears the footprints of a life-sized bionic seagull. One paw has the outline of a real paw, while the other is is a mechanical footprint. EXCERPT FROM THE PRESS RELEASE OF RECLAIMING REALMS Reclaiming Realms are endless post-Anthropocene possibilities of credible and verisimilar transformations: while hybrid animals that no longer follow any evolutionary law reclaim their spaces and redefine the landscape by creating interactions never seen before, wildlife, deprived of its territory and trophic resources, crosses the “border” of the city and reconquers urban spaces. The ancient natural habitats now replaced and fragmented by human activity are thus transformed into opportunities to exploit new resources and new environmental conditions where the animal can respond exclusively to its own logic of opportunism. In Reclaiming Realms, human beings are wholly irrelevant to the narrative; their presence does not determine, obstruct, facilitate or even preserve a nature that now independently follows its own evolutionary path. In comparison to this, the modern human being is simply an “unfinished animal” that, in order to adapt to the environment, requires technology, humanity’s essential tool for facilitating vital relationships and compensating for biological deficiencies.
WORK: Track of a bionic gull, clay, 33 x 13 x 11 cm, 2022. The research for and production of this work was supported by Stiftung Kunstfonds. EXHIBITION: Reclaiming realms, VBM Gallery, Berlin, 2022-2023. Press release: Valentina Benedetta Marinone