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Art at the Eden Project

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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 has been commissioned to create 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 living artwork will comprise a new garden, designed, planted and optimised for pollinators, rather than humans, using a specially designed algorithm and curated palette of plants. Ginsberg is collaborating with Eden’s expert network of horticulturists, scientists and consultants and drawing upon contemporary research on pollinator decline, the interrelationship with widespread biodiversity loss, and most importantly alternative approaches to this serious problem.  

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

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. As participants, we are asked to consider what a garden is and what - or who - it can be for. 

“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.”

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

“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.”

Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of the Eden Project

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. 

About the artist  

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist examining our fraught relationships with nature and technology. Through artworks, writing, and curatorial projects, Ginsberg’s work explores subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, conservation, and evolution, as she investigates the human impulse to “better” the world. 

Ginsberg spent over ten years experimentally engaging with the field of synthetic biology, developing new roles for artists and designers. She is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014), and in 2017 completed Better, her PhD by practice, at London’s Royal College of Art (RCA), interrogating how powerful dreams of “better” futures shape the things that get designed. She read architecture at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and received her MA in Design Interactions from the RCA. 

Ginsberg won the World Technology Award for design in 2011, the London Design Medal for Emerging Talent in 2012, and the Dezeen Changemaker Award 2019. Her work has twice been nominated for Designs of the Year (2011, 2015), with Designing for the Sixth Extinction described as “romantic, dangerous… and everything else that inspires us to change and question the world”. Ginsberg exhibits internationally, including at MoMA New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the National Museum of China, the Centre Pompidou, and the Royal Academy, and her work is in museum and private collections. Talks include TEDGlobal, PopTech, Design Indaba, and the New Yorker Tech Fest. Daisy is a resident at Somerset House Studios, London. 

Supporters

Garfield Weston Foundation

Established in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making trust which now gives away approximately £80 million a year to charities across the UK. Having established one of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees today remain highly active and hands-on. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business – a successful model that still endures today and as the businesses have grown so too have the charitable donations. 

Garfield Weston Foundation website

Gaia Art Foundation

Gaia Art Foundation is a non-profit initiative that facilitates transdisciplinary exchange across art, ecology, science and technology. We collaborate on research projects and facilitate artistic exchange and partnerships. We convene projects, workshops and public events, and support new commissions and platforms alongside various other initiatives.

Our mission is to support artistic practices and encourage experimentation and research that seek out answers and explore ideas that will improve our collective future. Our ambition is to provoke and foster vibrant discussion and collaboration across disciplines to encourage new positive ways of seeing, thinking and being.

Gaia Art Foundation website

Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 2,000 museums at your fingertips. It’s an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings to the women’s rights movement and the Taj Mahal. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android. Our team has been an innovation partner for cultural institutions since 2011. We develop technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums. 

Google Arts & Culture website