“I suppose I realized I was working toward a book when I asked myself, How close can you get to an extinct bird? And then, I set out to try. My journey of combing through museums and specimen drawers was what ultimately spurred the longer narrative. Once I held an extinct bird skin in my hands, I knew I had to start sounding some alarms about our own environmental crises.”
We saw her for the last time in 1944—frantic, wild-eyed, twitching about in her tree. Or rather, 23-year-old wildlife artist Don Eckelberry saw her, having traveled south to Louisiana’s Singer Tract to sketch America’s last Ivory-billed Woodpecker. It was a less than ideal situation. After all, National Audubon Society president John Baker would have much preferred to have found a way to save the bird rather than dispatch a man to sketch her. However, after negotiations with the Chicago Lumber Company broke down (“We are just money grubbers,” the company’s chairman allegedly said), Baker wasn’t left with much of a choice. Since the land couldn’t be spared (and by extension, the bird), Baker sent Eckelberry south in the hopes the artist might preserve her image.
by Nicholas Johnson
Mariko Mori’s multifaceted body of work stems from a yet more expansive imagination. Mori strives to show us a glimpse of a world that could have been transmitted from a distant future. Mori showed in London, 14 years ago and her vision aligned with video games, escapist manga culture and the digital aesthetic of an emerging generation. Today her work imagines a world where science and spirituality fuse with biology and technology. We get a rickety draft of future possibilities from an iridescent, alien world.