member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life


This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo


(Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ghosts and Impossible Dreams

Rita

(the frame is gold leaf and shiny:)
This painting began as an exploration of a segment from Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings, in which he described a curse created by "The Yellow Emperor" which kept a whole other world confined inside the reflective surfaces of our own world, and how one day that curse would be broken. When I was making the drawing for it, I was thinking of humans, of us being the ones trapped inside the mirrors--trapped by perceptions of the world and its possibilities that we'd developed before we were even conscious of what we were doing, perceptions handed down to us by our parents, society, ill-managed emotions, fears, etc. I was thinking about it in the sense of our "true selves" being something completely foreign, even unrecognizable to this somnolent being that wanders through each day, making often meaningless, rote motions at dictated times (coffee, job, study, gym, drive, pick up the kids, whatever your life is, etc) in an effort to pass "correctly" or safely through yet another day. To make it. My thinking was that most of the time, our perception of what is possible is limited to what we've already seen done; thus, most of the time, we're merely mimicking--mirroring--what is already before us, unable to believe past what we can see and into the wild, chaotic space beyond it. So this moment of freedom from the curse would be that moment of passing through the mirror, becoming (once more) real, alive.


Or, in quantum physics, it is said that all the possible outcomes of the choices that we're faced with at each moment are played out in some space and time, and each of those spaces and times are called parallel realities. Sometimes these realities are symbolized as bubbles jostling each other in endless space. The mirror, then, might be the thin skein of the bubble separating one reality from another. One choice from another. One me (one you) from another.


After I made the drawing, but was still unsatisfied with my understanding of the passage, I stumbled upon the story of St. Rita, and I found in her the woman, the human part of the spirit here painted breaking out from her illusory prison and into a new world. This creature is St. Rita, leading us directly into the impossible.




The Italian St. Rita, as is usually the case with the saints, greatly desired to join a convent as a young child, but was prevented. In obedience to her parents, at 12 years old she married, and bore her violent and otherwise criminally-inclined husband two sons. He beat her continually and otherwise brought her not much happiness, but she stayed with him, and towards the end of his life even managed to convert him to Catholicism and a new path. This was one of the first steps towards what she would become: the patron saint of impossible dreams and lost causes--and abused women.
Shortly after his conversion, her husband was ambushed and killed, and Rita was forced to channel her energies towards protecting the souls of her sons, who wanted to avenge their father's death. She prayed that God not allow their souls to be sullied by such an act as murder, and they instead died within the year. At that point, she returned to her attempts to join a convent, but was refused, several times, because of her status as widow and mother (as opposed to virgin, the requirement for a bride of Christ).


However, she persevered, and one morning, the good nuns awoke to find that she had been spirited into the locked convent in the middle of the night by her own patron saints. Feeling they could not ignore such a clear statement from God, they permitted her to stay.


Later, on her death bed in the convent, she made another impertinent request. She asked that a visitor bring her a fig and a rose from a garden she had always loved. The problem, of course, was that it was the dead of winter, and there would be no figs and no roses.


But, of course, there were. The visitor went to the garden she'd named, and found there just the fig and just the rose, and brought them to Rita.

So here, instead of the olive branch, St. Rita holds out the fig branch: her offering of the impossible, made so by dreaming it was so.. The fig branch is the first object to pass through the mirror, her dreams and desires leading her out into a new reality.


I had wanted a hybrid creature of some sort, as it would be one of "us" becoming something we had not before recognized as possible or real. Typically female (me first! :)), she is part fish because Borges said the first to escape the prison would be the fish: maybe because of the image of the fish growing legs and departing from the sea to begin the next stages of its evolution (towards humanity?), maybe because of the image of primordial chaos as a kind of sea that the first forms of organized life came out of, maybe because a fish first appears in your vision as a flash, a line of color, and only afterwards as a full being.
And then I thought she would need land-legs, and powerful ones, made for galloping.



And speaking of passing to the other side, or passing between worlds, according to Ursula Bielski, in her book Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City:
"One All Souls Day, November 2, in the early 1960s, those 15, all faithful parishioners of St. Rita Church, were gathered for a prayer service there to benefit the souls of the dead. In the midst of their efforts, the organ began to play on its own, unleashing a chaotic string of shrill tones. The hands of the church clock began to spin wildly in opposite directions. As the organ churned out its ghastly offerings, the congregation beheld six monk-like figures, three draped in white and three in black, poised on either side of the instrument. Shocked but mobilized, the petitioners rushed to flee by the doors, which refused to open. They watched in horror as the figures began to glide down to the main floor, floating through pews above ground and towards the front of the church. In the organ's final shriek of discord, an unseen voice implored, 'Pray for us.' At that point the doors blew open, allowing the congregation to escape the dreadful scene."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

They Will Not Be Defeated

They Will Not Be Defeated

"In those days, the world of mirrors and the world of Man were not, as now, isolated from each other. What's more, they were distinct; neither the beings, nor the colors, nor the forms were the same from one world to the other. Both kingdoms, the specular and the human, lived in peace; one could pass through any mirror as a doorway between them. One night, the people of the mirror invaded Earth. Their force was great, but after many bloody battles, the magical arts of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. He pushed back the invaders, imprisoned them in the mirrors, and forced them to repeat, as if sleep-walking, all the acts of Man. He took from them their strength and their form and reduced them to mere servile reflections. Nevertheless, one day they will shake themselves from this magical slumber. The first to awake will be the Fish. In the depths of the mirror, we will note a fragile line, and the color of that line will be one like no other. The other forms will follow. Gradually, they will differ from us; gradually, they will cease to imitate us. They will break the barriers of glass or metal, and this time, they will not be defeated..."
--Jorge Luis Borges (my translation)

The entire text, in Spanish, is available here

The bars in the mirror become visible as she forces them to dissolve, freeing herself from the curse. The Yellow Emperor begins jogging. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beast Within


"Depression"

I discovered Lena Revenko on Flickr, really an amazing site in that way...she paints directly on old book pages or textured paper, such as origami paper. She's a miniaturist, then, with amazing control of her little brush, and she paints these really creative creatures, that both hide behind the designs of the page, or camouflage themselves in there, or leap out at you, very brightly, refusing to be missed. These creatures carry stories with them, stories from folklore, forgotten stories that come back in nightmares or dark fantasies, stories as old as human history and older. You can see that from their very strangeness.


"Owl's Queen"


"Me and Him"



"Everyone has unexpressed feelings and problems, says Revenko, and the strange creatures represent them. They scratch from inside and disrupt inner peace."
'Sometimes we don't want to deal with them seriously, and hope they will vanish, but they won't disappear, they only mask themselves as a part of our familiar background...I draw them as little strange animals, sometimes friendly, but always with teeth....Maybe I paint this way because I grew up in two different places, and spent a lot of time as a teenager trying to be just like everybody else while I really wasn't," says Revenko, in an interview with Jenny Hammond before her show, "Keepers of Little Secrets," earlier this year.

In the first image, "Depression," those repressed feelings have turned the person blue, laid her out on the floor, and her issues are coming to deal with her, whether she likes it or not...


"My Family"


Note in the above image how the creatures really are camouflaged in their environment, though they hang around the person's neck--one doesn't really have to wonder what he thinks of his relatives? And below, if you look closely, you can see that the animals have been painted to be emerging from the leaves that create the origami paper's pattern.


"Sablezuby"


"Her Rabbit"


"Noriko's Friend"





"Schrödinger's Cat"

Schrödinger's Cat


In 1935, an Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, created a thought experiment to expose what he felt were ridiculous problems with certain theories being developed in the field of quantum physics which suggested that all possibilities exist simultaneously until the moment of observation and measurement, at which time, only the measured possibility exists. Everything is possibility until the situation is actively defined. And the situation is defined by your observation of it.

The thought experiment is described on Wikipedia:

"Schrödinger's Cat: A cat, along with a flask containing a poison, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not a mixture of alive and dead."

Some people, like me, did not find this experiment ridiculous, but rather exciting.

In 1957, Hugh Everett came up with "the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics," which suggested that:
"both alive and dead states of the cat persist, but are decoherent from each other. In other words, when the box is opened, that part of the universe containing the observer and cat is split into two separate universes: one containing an observer looking at a box with a dead cat, and one containing an observer looking at a box with a live cat." (Wikipedia)

If you take this a step further, the way you think when you're opening the box is going to affect the outcome: on the one hand, you're almost like a god in your ability to “choose your own adventure,” yet the fact remains that you are driven by your subconscious, your fears (recognized or not), and your most branding memories, and so you really aren't in control. what you get in front of you, many times, is that angry dog or bizarre, toothy creature Lena likes to paint, and it seems so unfair, and even illogical. But it is logical--it's your logic. What Schrödinger's cat experiment offers us is the idea that other options, better options, are there for us to access, somehow, it's all in how we look at it. In his experiment, we decide as we observe; it is very important to be aware, then, of our habits of observation. To face our demons, as Lena's art also suggests, so that they might disintegrate, instead of constantly tugging at our sleeves, fogging our glasses, and messing up our opportunities.


"Rumors"


Lena was born in Minsk, but emigrated with her family to Israel when she was 14.Her website and blog can be found here.


"You are So Big Already"


"Of Course, He's Mad too"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mirrors, Ghosts, and the Revolutionary Fish


"The Persistence of Memory"
By Marina Korenfeld


`I was always afraid of mirrors,' Jorge Luis Borges said in 1971. `I had three large mirrors in my room when I was a boy and I felt very acutely afraid of them, because I saw myself in the dim light -- I saw myself thrice over, and I was very afraid of the thought that perhaps the three shapes would begin moving by themselves ... I have always been afraid ... of mahogany, of crystals, even of limpid water.'


MUNDO DE ESPEJOS
(English translation follows)



En aquel tiempo, el mundo de los espejos y el mundo de los hombres no estaban, como ahora, incomunicados. Eran, además, muy diversos; no coincidían ni los seres ni los colores ni las formas. Ambos reinos, el especular y el humano vivían en paz; se entraba y se salía por los espejos. Una noche, la gente del espejo invadió la tierra. Su fuerza era grande, pero al cabo de sangrientas batallas las artes mágicas del Emperador Amarillo prevalecieron. Éste rechazó a los invasores, los encarceló en los espejos y les impuso la tarea de repetir, como en una especie de sueño, todos los actos de los hombres. Los privó de su fuerza y de su figura y los redujo a meros reflejos serviles. Un día, sin embargo, sacudirán ese letargo mágico. El primero que despertará será el Pez. En el fondo del espejo percibiremos una línea muy tenue y el color de esa línea será un color no parecido a ningun otro. Después, irán despertando las otras formas. Gradualmente diferirán de nosotros, gradualmente no nos imitarán. Romperán las barreras de vidrio o de metal y esta vez no serán vencidas.
(Jorge Luis Borges)



The Wind
Marina Korenfeld

English Translation (my translation):


In those days, the world of mirrors and the world of Man were not, as now, isolated from each other. What's more, they were distinct; neither the beings, nor the colors, nor the forms were the same from one world to the other. Both kingdoms, the specular and the human, lived in peace; one could pass through any mirror as a doorway between them. One night, the people of the mirror invaded Earth. Their force was great, but after many bloody battles, the magical arts of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. He pushed back the invaders, imprisoned them in the mirrors, and forced them to repeat, as if sleep-walking, all the acts of Man. He took from them their strength and their form and reduced them to mere servile reflections. Nevertheless, one day they will shake themselves from this magical slumber. The first to awake will be the Fish. In the depths of the mirror, we will note a fragile line, and the color of that line will be one like no other. The other forms will follow. Gradually, they will differ from us; gradually, they will cease to imitate us. They will break the barriers of glass or metal, and this time, they will not be defeated...



"Bahamut"
By Marina Korenfeld
(The fish that supports the world, in Arabian myth and in Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings.)


Piscis-Custos (Fish-Guardian)
Marina Korenfeld

"As a child, Borges had an all consuming fear of mirrors. His sister, Norah, claims that one summer she and her brother hid in the farthest corner of the house from 'a ghost that [they] actually saw reflected in a closet mirror.' Having 'actually' seen something present in the spectral world which was conspicuously absent in the conventional made Borges believe that mirrors possessed volition of their own and, moreover, the power to do away with reality as he knew it. He admits:

'One of my persistent prayers to God...was that I not dream about mirrors. I know I watched them with misgivings. Sometimes I feared that they might deviate from reality; other times I was afraid of seeing there my own face, disfigured by strange calamities.'"
(Source, JAMIE SCHILLING FIELDS)





"In the Style of 'Magic Mirrors'"
by egold on Flickr. Note the fish in the background...
"When you are alone, look at the mirror, any mirror you have in your home. Peer at the mirror deeper and deeper. I'm sure pretty soon you'll understand all magic of this glass, no... not a glass but open window, window to other, different world.
Feel yourself as Alice, talk with your reflection... may be you'll get all the answers to your hidden spirits... It's not about madness, lunacy, or multiple personality... Understand, nobody knows you better than your twin in a mirror... Just do it."(egold)
(I recommend a visit to his page, where as he says, he uses photography to create his own, "second" reality. It's fascinating, full of little jewels, and deserves a separate post...soon).


Mirrors :: J. L. Borges
(Spanish version follows)

I, who felt the horrors of mirrors
Not only in front of the impenetrable crystal
Where there ends and begins, uninhabitable,
An impossible space of reflections,

But of gazing even on water that mimics
The other blue in its depth of sky,
That at times gleams back the illusory flight
Of the inverted bird, or that ripples,

And in front of the silent surface
Of subtle ebony whose polish shows
Like a repeating dream the white
Of something marble or something rose,

Today at the tip of so many and perplexing
Wandering years under the varying moon,
I ask myself what whim of fate
Made me so fearful of a glancing mirror.

Mirrors in metal, and the masked
Mirror of mahogany that in its mist
Of a red twilight hazes
The face that is gazed on as it gazes,

I see them as infinite, elemental
Executors of an ancient pact,
To multiply the world like the act
Of begetting. Sleepless. Bringing doom.

They prolong this hollow, unstable world
In their dizzying spider’s-web;
Sometimes in the afternoon they are blurred
By the breath of a man who is not dead.

The crystal spies on us. If within the four
Walls of a bedroom a mirror stares,
I’m no longer alone. There is someone there.
In the dawn reflections mutely stage a show.

Everything happens and nothing is recorded
In these rooms of the looking glass,
Where, magicked into rabbis, we
Now read the books from right to left.

Claudius, king of an afternoon, a dreaming king,
Did not feel it a dream until that day
When an actor shewed the world his crime
In a tableau, silently in mime.

It is a strange dream, and to have mirrors
Where the commonplace, worn-out repertory
Of every day may include the illusory
Profound globe that reflections scheme.

God (I keep thinking) has taken pains
To design that ungraspable architecture
Reared by every dawn from the gleam
Of a mirror, by darkness from a dream.

God has created nighttime, which he arms
With dreams, and mirrors, to make clear
To man he is a reflection and a mere
Vanity. Therefore these alarms.

[From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Harold Morland]



LOS ESPEJOS

Yo que sentí el horror de los espejos
No sólo ante el cristal impenetrable
Donde acaba y empieza, inhabitable,
un imposible espacio de reflejos

Sino ante el agua especular que imita
El otro azul en su profundo cielo
Que a veces raya el ilusorio vuelo
Del ave inversa o que un temblor agita

Y ante la superficie silenciosa
Del ébano sutil cuya tersura
Repite como un sueño la blancura
De un vago mármol o una vaga rosa,

Hoy, al cabo de tantos y perplejos
Años de errar bajo la varia luna,
Me pregunto qué azar de la fortuna
Hizo que yo temiera los espejos.

Espejos de metal, enmascarado
Espejo de caoba que en la bruma
De su rojo crepúsculo disfuma
Ese rostro que mira y es mirado,

Infinitos los veo, elementales
Ejecutores de un antiguo pacto,
Multiplicar el mundo como el acto
Generativo, insomnes y fatales.

Prolongan este vano mundo incierto
En su vertiginosa telaraña;
A veces en la tarde los empaña
El hálito de un hombre que no ha muerto.

Nos acecha el cristal. Si entre las cuatro
Paredes de la alcoba hay un espejo,
Ya no estoy solo. Hay otro. Hay el reflejo
Que arma en el alba un sigiloso teatro.

Todo acontece y nada se recuerda
En esos gabinetes cristalinos
Donde, como fantásticos rabinos,
Leemos los libros de derecha a izquierda.

Claudio, rey de una tarde, rey soñado,
No sintió que era un sueño hasta aquel día
En que un actor mimó su felonía
Con arte silencioso, en un tablado.

Que haya sueños es raro, que haya espejos,
Que el usual y gastado repertorio
De cada día incluya el ilusorio
Orbe profundo que urden los reflejos.

Dios (he dado en pensar) pone un empeño
En toda esa inasible arquitectura
Que edifica la luz con la terzura
Del cristal y la sombra con el sueño.

Dios ha creado las noches que se arman
De sueños y las formas del espejo
Para que el hombre sienta que es reflejo
Y vanidad. Por eso nos alarman.



Gravity
By Marina Korenfeld

A fan of the work of Borges, Marina Korenfeld is a Russian artist living in New York who draws up on his ideas, those of Castaneda, many religious traditions, and Russian folklore.
"The fish, which is Marina's favorite motif, is an agent of silent and invisible forces; it is omnipresent in all of her work under various guises."(Natalya Sukhonos, Yale Daily News).
You can see more of her artwork here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lost Race Found

Lost Race Found

(to see large, follow the link)

Several times lately, some animal thought to be long-extinct is discovered in some far-off region of the world, doing just fine. This is a moment like that: Plato's Lost Race, the pre-human hermaphrodites, split in half by the gods in punishment for arrogance, each half condemned to wander the Earth in a seemingly endless search for completion.
Here they are, she-he tends the roots and he-she the branches, on swampy, newly forming ground. The proud peacock watching carefully overhead. (Cats are just always necessary.)



Note: This is a new experiment for me.I've been working on this drawing for a while, but I grew furious with the sky and dropped it. Finally, I discovered "free textures" on the flickr page of les brumes, and I borrowed this texture. I photoed my illustration and put it into photoshop, then I made some little changes in the texture I had borrowed and put it over the sky at 57%, and found myself much happier. So, thanks les brumes!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why is the Airplane Erasing the Sky?

A story by Vesna, illustration by zoe.

Ghede


"Why is the airplane erasing the sky?" she said. I had no idea what is she talking about. It took me a little while to get in synch with her thoughts. My thoughts were busy knocking on the doors of possible tomorrows, looping through never-ending list of things that are waiting to be done during the day. Her question made me aware. Aware of her little hand, of her great wisdom, of beautiful possibilities that are here and now... if we look carefully. "What do you mean, airplane is erasing the sky?" I asked her. I felt like talking to the Little Prince, feeling a bit ashamed being in the role of an adult who doesn't get it! "Look." She answered simply. Yes, that's all it takes. Just look. It clicked in my mind.
A blue, bright blue sky has been clearly erased by the airplane, leaving behind the white trace, as if all we can see now is the paper on which the drawing has been made. I felt suddenly so much joy.
As if: her question erased that boring never-ending task list;
As if: all the doors of tomorrows are now wide open for us, if we decide to go through them;
As if: nothing else really matters but to look at this drawing around us from different perspectives and hold hands.
Once again I have realized that I need so much to learn from my child. I just simply forgot to look.
Many years later I met somebody who is an adult but never forgot to look. She became my friend instantly, my inspiration and support. I never met anybody who can look and see so much, who gives so generously and makes everything more interesting.This is her painting of the airplane erasing the sky and her imaginative vision.
This is a true story.
Vesna


My thoughts while making the drawing:
So, when i was thinking about the image Vesna had given me of erasing the sky, I thought I would make it so that he was clearing space for a new "world." When I was thinking about two worlds, or being able to see into more than one world, I thought about Ghede, a voodoo loa. He is usually shown with a top hat, and sunglasses with one eyeglass cut out--this shows that he can see into two worlds, the "outside," and "the world beyond" (or inside...). He acts as psychopomp, moving the dead to their realm (and he's called on to communicate with them), but also he's a great healer, a trickster, and, especially a protector of children and pregnant women. So he is there at the very beginning of this life, and also at the end, when you travel to a different life. Maybe he's there when your soul enters a new form, I'm not sure--but that would fit with the theme here :)Because St. Gerard Majella is a saint famous for protecting children and pregnant women, and because he is usually shown in icons with a skull (although i don't know why), he was syncretized with Ghede. Also, he is known for the gift of prophesy and the gift of bilocation, making him a great match for Ghede. So, my main themes were: being able to see into more than one world at once (knowing many things as a result) and protecting/ nurturing children. I made it sort of circular by having the birds (sky creatures) come out from the "edge" of the central world, out of a blank space, as if the different worlds maybe circled into one another (also, note that the stairs keep going down behind them, they circle both up and down). I was thinking that the two girls were the same girl, at different points in their lives, but it doesn't have to be that way. The plane is also a kite, completely under the control of the long, stretched-out arm of God (who can touch the ground and the sky at the same time), who is seen here visiting us and entertaining the child in the form of Ghede or St. Gerard.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unnatural Selection


"Bunolagus Attono"

Earlier in the year, I discovered Borges' Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (see link to the right of the blog), in which the narrator discovered planted evidence of a planet he deemed fictitious in an encyclopedia. As his life went on, he found other references to the planet, and was struck by the detail of history, mythology, and language that had been built up to seemingly no purpose. By the end of the story, the purpose became clear, as the non-existent planet began a relentless yet violence-free occupation of Earth, supplanting "our" history, science, architecture, language and mythology with its own. In this bizarre, incredible tale, the humans of Earth conquered themselves, allowing a peaceful takeover by the small group of unknown people who had created the record of that false planet.

Since that discovery, I have been taken in by various artistic projects that seem similar in the vast expanse of their creative tendencies: for example the Codex Seraphinianus, where Luigi Serafini created just such an encyclopedic text, completely devoted to an imaginary planet, with its cultures, flora, fauna, and mythologies (etc), written in a language yet to be decoded (the text was created in 1976). Today, I have found yet another artist of far-flung, immense creativity, who is in the process of creating an unspoiled, hidden valley, deep in the Burmese Jungle, complete with new (to us) fauna, which he is sharing with the public only through his drawings and the specimens and notes that he has brought back from his journeys, in order to protect the species from the perils of human intervention.

(photo by Erik Hecht)

His business card, made for a show earlier this summer in Seattle, Washington, and which he will send you given an address, reads:

"Dr. Filbert Montauk of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has returned from a six year wilderness trip into some of the least hospitable lands in the world. The purpose of this trip was to discover unrecorded pockets of genetic diversity. Many thought he perished years ago; instead he has returned claiming to have found a lost valley hidden deep within the Burmese Jungle. He refuses to take anyone to his discovery; instead he has brought back journals and specimens. The zoological community has had a mixed reception to Dr. Montauk's findings. Scientists are insulted by his lack of cooperation, and many are suggesting foul play. Nevertheless, the doctor refuses to reveal the exact location of the valley in order to protect it from human intervention.
Montauk's journals and specimens are slowly being released to the public. He is meticulously editing his findings in order to prevent others from deciphering clues about the location of his lost paradise."



Flightless Birds

(The text is small here, sorry. It reads:
"Gallirallus Contraedes. I have observed many of these flightless birds racing through the trees of the valley. They travel in much the same way antelope do on the plains of Africa. When threatened they condense into a solid mass and run at tremendous speeds. I have never witnessed birds act in this way. Their density and speed is astounding. At night they cluster in secluded corners of the jungle. They look like red doughballs pressed against one another. Every once in a while one will peek its head out the top of the mass to keep watch.")


"Pseudois Harundinetum"

On his website, he explains further:
"The modern structure for protecting endangered animals is inherently synthetic. Many species are removed from their habitat, protected in simulated environments, and are reintroduced when mature. With Unnatural Selection I'm projecting a potential future for conservation. As more fragile animals are lost, it's suggested we turn to bio-engineering to create new more adaptable creatures for the modern world, or alter those that currently exist to function in a new way. For decades scientists have been bioengineering our crops and our livestock; they could eventually turn to bioengineering biodiversity."


He creates sketches, stories of discovery, mating calls and habits, lifestyle, and makes clay and faux-fur "specimens".

Installation for "Unnatural Selection"


Bovinae Breevi


Austrocochlea Proboscis


You can watch him at work in this video by Erik Hecht:

Unnatural Selection from Erik Hecht on Vimeo.



(Music by Mckenzie Stubbert; he gives additional thanks to Alex Walsh and Celeste Olds).

Recommended purchase:
at $10, this is a steal, and there are only 25 of them. Handmade, signed, and numbered...Dr. Mauntak's Journal, Volume One:

(3.5" x 5")

His webpage is here, and his Flickr page is here.