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Date: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 12:00
  • The permanent installation commissioned by the Eden Project will explore the vital role of pollinators as part of a three-year programme funded by Garfield Weston Foundation, additional partners include Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.
  • High profile cultural panel appoints Ginsberg to create the commission.
  • Across the UK, green-fingered audiences will be empowered by this unique artwork to create their own planting scheme, designed for bees and other insect pollinators, using a web-based platform, and to visit the Eden Project to experience an innovative, new visual arts commission.
  • Save the date for Spring 2021 to see the installation be revealed in the stunning gardens of Cornwall’s Eden Project.

A newly-commissioned artwork will be revealed in Spring 2021 that asks visitors to view the world from the perspective of plants and pollinators and to take part in a cultural project to help save bees and other endangered species of pollinating insects.

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, an artist resident at Somerset House Studios and who is also due to exhibit at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021, has been commissioned to realise her vision.

The commission includes a new, permanent outdoor installation at the Eden Project which explores the story of the UK’s indigenous pollinators: their vital role, their current plight, and the plans and need for their conservation. The commission site will be Eden’s scenic Outdoor Gardens, with a unique vantage point on the Eden site and its Grimshaw-designed biomes. The living artwork created for the Eden Project will comprise a new garden, designed, planted and optimised for pollinators over human aesthetics using a specially designed algorithm and curated palette of plants.

The second part of the artwork is a new website where UK audiences can use the same algorithm to generate their own unique planting scheme of locally-appropriate plants for bees and other pollinators, as a call to action to plant your own pollinator garden. The in-app algorithm will create a planting design from a wide range of plants chosen primarily for their benefits to pollinators. The website is being developed by The Workers with visual identity by Studio Frith.

With audiences joining in and planting their own gardens - using Ginsberg’s digital artwork to do so - they are able to create their own artwork at home.

The artist's ambition is to extend this web function into a global platform for creative activism, and Ginsberg is currently in conversation with the Eden Project and multiple international partners to realise this vision.

Selected by a curatorial panel of leading voices in the worlds of art and culture, Ginsberg’s artwork will be an ambitious large-scale installation underpinned by innovative technologies and engaging with emerging theories regarding pollinators.

In line with Ginsberg’s artistic practice, the commission uses technology to raise awareness of one of the greatest challenges facing the natural world.

The panel members who chose the artist included: Jolyon Brewis – Partner, Grimshaw; Libita Clayton – Artist; Candida Gertler OBE – Co-Founder, Outset Contemporary Art Fund; Clare Lilley – Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park & Curator, Frieze Sculpture; Sir Tim Smit KBE – Co-founder of the Eden Project, Executive Vice-Chair, Eden Project Ltd & Executive Co-chair, Eden Project International Ltd and Sophia Weston – Executive Trustee, Garfield Weston Foundation.

The project will also involve collaborating with Eden’s expert network of horticulturists, scientists and consultants. This includes the National Wildflower Centre which is based at the Eden Project, Eden’s master beekeeper Rodger Dewhurst and pollination consultant David Goulson. In addition, machine-learning expert and string theory physicist, Dr Przemek Witaszczyk of Jagiellonian University, Kraków, will help develop the algorithms behind the planting programme.

Ginsberg will draw upon contemporary research on pollinator decline and the interrelationship with widespread biodiversity loss, and most importantly alternative approaches to this serious problem. As an artist interested in questions, she asks viewers to consider what a garden is and what - or who - it can be for.

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg said, “I want to make an artwork for pollinators, not about them. We’re creating a digital artwork made from living plants, exploring how the audience of an artwork can be more-than-human, and asking how art can be useful in the ecological crisis. The Eden Project is the perfect partner for this interspecies art experiment and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with their experts and learn from them.”

Misha Curson, Senior Curator, Eden Project, said, “We are delighted to reveal the first details of Daisy’s commission, an important part of the 2021 visual arts programme at the Eden Project. Combining technology, conservation, horticulture and visual arts, Pollinator Pathmaker will resonate with our visitors on many levels. It is also exciting to be able to bring to life a project that offers audiences agency to make a creative and environmentally-positive contribution, creating their own gardens across a wide range of landscapes and climates.”

The commission is part of the Eden Project’s three year project Create a Buzz, to communicate the story of the UK’s native pollinators: their vital role, their current plight and their restoration.

The project is funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional partners Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.

Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of the Eden Project, added, “One of the deepest pleasures there is, is to be given the opportunity to commission someone you hugely admire to create something that you know in advance is going to give such great pleasure and insight to so many people. Daisy’s huge talent is to be an artist that understands narrative, aesthetics, science and…impact.”