The project is a collaboration between Christina Agapakis (American, b.1984), Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (British/South African, b.1982), and Sissel Tolaas (Norwegian, b.1965), with support from Ginkgo Bioworks (USA, est.2008) and IFF (USA, est.1889)
Could we ever again smell flowers driven to extinction by humans? Resurrecting the Sublime allows us a glimpse of an extinct flower, lost to colonial activity. The vitrine is filled with the smell of the Hibiscadelphus wilderianus Rock (Maui hau kuahiwi in Hawaiian), a flowering tree once indigenous to ancient lava fields on the southern slopes of Mount Haleakalā, Maui, Hawaii, before colonial cattle ranching decimated its habitat. The last tree was found dying in 1912.
Resurrecting the smell of extinct flowers so that humans may again experience something we destroyed is awesome and perhaps terrifying; it evokes the sublime. But this is not de-extinction. Rather, biotechnology, smell, and digitally reconstructed landscapes reveal the complex interplay of species and places that no longer exist. Resurrecting the Sublime asks us to contemplate our actions and potentially change them for the future.
WITH THE ADDITIONAL SUPPORT OF
THERME ART PROGRAM
Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)
Ginkgo Bioworks: Christina Agapakis, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Grace Chuang, Jason Kakoyiannis, Jason Kelly, Scott Marr, Krishna Patel, Kit McDonnell, Christian Ridley, Dayal Saran, Atsede Siba, Dawn Thompson, Jue Wang
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Cecilie Gravesen, Johanna Just, Ness Lafoy, Ioana Man, Ana Maria Nicolaescu, Stacie Woolsey, Nicholas Zembashi
Sissel Tolaas: Smell Re_searchLab Berlin, Kathrin Pohlmann
Production Management: Kathrin Pohlmann
Paleogenomics: Joshua Kapp, Beth Shapiro, Paleogenomics Lab, University of California, Santa Cruz
DNA Synthesis: Twist Bioscience
Documentary Editing: Inferstudio
Sound Design: Sam Conran
Thanks to: Michaela Schmull, Harvard University Herbaria