Saturday, October 15, 2016

The tradegy of lost species

Those who know my work either in the flesh or through this blog and the sister blog of my live in animal friend Bosci will be aware that I have an long standing interest in anatomy. One way this love, combined with my drive for making strange things manifests, is in my collection of homemade specimens. Checkout previous posts on Bosci's blog
to see some of these.
Recently I have had the opportunity to make some new specimen artworks as part of a year long initiative commemorating the death of the last thylacine in existence. The thylacine, is also know as the Tasmanian tiger and was a strange Australian marsupial. Marsupials are wonderfully weird mammals whose young are born in a highly unformed virtually embryo like state. The young called joey's, emerge from their mothers, then grapple and clamber with overly large forelimbs to the distintive maruspial pouch where they find sustenance and develop. 

Thylacine specimen joey, cloning trial 1
2 days old

Thylacine trial 2
6 days old

The Thylacine became extinct 80 years ago when on September 7th 1936, 'Benjamin' died of neglect, locked out of his sheltered sleeping quarters in Hobart Zoo, Australia. I have speculated what might happen should science try to reintroduce the long lost beast using cloning technology. I have made several thylacine clone attempts. And because these mal-formed, ill-bred specimens are in jars, dead and preserved we must presume that the scientist have found the tasks beyond their means. The task has proved to be too complex and difficult and is way beyond them. They have failed. 

Thylacine trial 7
14 days old

two views of trial number 11
 having survived for 21 days

longest surviving creature;
perished at 1 month and 1 day

The way I create these beastly specimens is by using rubber and carefully crafted, complicated inside-out moulds. One inherent factor with this process is that the final outcome (when the skin is reversed and rolled over itself) manifests unpredictable peculiarities and flaws giving the creature surprising, odd mishapen characterisitcs and features. I liken these errors and foibles to the struggles encountered when modern science, expecting to fully comprehend nature finds that things dont always go according to plan.

For more about the ongoing Thylacine memorial....


The message I'm wanting to project is that its far better to preserve wondrousness than to expect to pick up the pieces later.

No comments: