RE-WILDLING    2018, 4K video, 11min 56 sec. Commissioned by Daata Editions. Available on Daata Editions.     Link.     Press release:    ”RE-WILDLING  is a video about extinction, preservation, and the emergence of new ecological realities. It is inspired by the reintroduction of a previously extinct crow to the Big Island of Hawaii.  As a creature present in a number of global mythologies, the crow is infused with cultural narratives of astral planes and otherworldly dimensions. The video starts on a moist forest floor made from photo-scanned organic material, and continues on a slow journey into another reality where trees grow feathers, roots are organic veins, and the crow itself exists as a fluorescent, sentient flying entity. First rooted in an ecological past, REWILDING evolves into a new liquid reality, where species, technologies, and cultural mythologies about nature intertwine.  The Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis, locally known as Alalā) disappeared from the wild in 2002, and it was subsequently declared extinct by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. During the crows’ period of declared extinction, Kauai underwent ecological transformations provoked by disruptions to its ecosystem, due to the disappearance of its largest bird species. However, a few members of the crow species survived in captivity. Through the `Alalā Restoration Project, 6 crows were released into the wild in 2017, and have since rebred on their own.  Drawing on ideas elaborated by science journalist Britt Wray in her book Rise of the Necrofauna (Greystone Books, 2017),  REWILDING  is based on ideas about de-extinction as a process of transformation. It is impossible to bring back worlds and ecological conditions from the past. Instead, the reintroduction of extinct species spawns a new reality in which time and ecological conditions are warped. The Hawaiian Crow and its habitat can never be the same, because the contexts surrounding them have been forever altered. We are entering new ecological realities.   REWILDING  is part of a year-long project by artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen for which he has interviewed ornithologists about their last memories of now-extinct species, and collaborated with natural history archives as well as science writers offering fresh perspectives on ecological issues. The project’s body of work is entirely composed of 3D scanned organic material and real audio recordings of extinct birds, from which Steensen has created new species and worlds.  The habitat he has focused on is one of the world’s oldest existing ecosystems - Kauai’s Alakai plateau on Hawaii. In 1826, avian malaria was introduced to the ecosystem by a ship carrying horses to mexico. The mosquitos carrying the malaria and other illnesses irrevocably changed the island’s ecosystems, and since the 1980’s dozens of birds have become extinct. Struggling with extinction, preservation, and climate transformations, the ecosystem explored by Jakob Kudsk Steensen exists between a primal past and a new ecological reality.”
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