Laura Beloff & Jonas Jørgensen
We, humans, have been able to easily divide things into artefacts, things that are produced by humans, and biological organisms, organisms that are evolved or grown ‘naturally’. However, today we are in degreasing degree able to make a distinction between artificial and natural things based on our cognitive abilities. This is due to our long-term development in plant and animal cultivation, cloning, genetic manipulation and biotechnological methods. Also, at the same time we are developing new avenues for artificial life and artificial intelligence to evolve on different platforms and materials. It seems to me that the future ecologies on our planet will be forming at the intersection of technological and biological evolution and human agency.
The Condition-work presents a scenario where these agencies are playing primary roles. The installation asks what types of organisms will survive in the changing environmental conditions? And also, the work ironically questions if our cultural icon, the Christmas tree, will survive these changes?
The installation consists of 12 cloned Danish Christmas trees that are growing in mechanically rotating boxes. This small-scale Christmas tree forest is placed into a micro-gravity condition, which is produced by the rotational movement of the boxes, and which differs drastically from our normal terrestrial gravity. This forest is directly connected to universal space weather as the rotation speeds are determined by the real-time space weather data received from NASA-satellite.
In our role as the artists behind this work, we have created an artificial environmental condition for this small forest of trees. In a way, we have continued the process that was put forward by scientists when they brought this tree species from its originating location in Caucasus forest to Danish fields, and developed efficient cloning methods for a profitable mono-culture production of Christmas trees. Today this species, which is presented in the installation, is a junction of biotechnological methods, economic interests, and cultural and aesthetic values.
We have created the installation to be perceived in different layers – it is an aesthetic set up that combines technological and biological parts, and at the same time it is a time capsule for the future, and an experiment that questions the way we perceive and relate to our natural environment.