Earthbound — In Dialogue with Nature

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

«The Substitute», 2019

The Substitute explores the striking paradox of our preoccupation with creating new life forms while neglecting those that already exist. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s work brings the virtually extinct northern white rhinoceros back to life digitally, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. A life-size projection shows the artificial rhino finding its bearings in a virtual space. It becomes more “real” as it grows accustomed to its new digital environment, evolving from a pixelated distortion to a lifelike rendering, alluding to the way that artifical intelligence learns from its environment. Behaviours and sounds stem from rare recorded sightings of the rhino; yet, in the absence of its natural surroundings, the rhino remains conspicuously artificial. Ginsberg’s video installation looks at our trust in biotechnology to preserve or return extinct species. It also questions whether humanity would be able to protect a resurrected rhinoceros, considering our previous destruction of an entire species. Or is this artificial rhino a better substitute for the real thing?

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (UK) explores our fraught relationships with nature and technology in her artistic practice. Her work investigates themes as diverse as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, conservation, biodiversity and evolution, and the human drive to «improve» the world. She studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and received her MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London, where she completed a practical PhD in 2017. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the World Technology Award for Design (2011) and the Dezeen Changemaker Award (2019). Her work has been exhibited in museums worldwide. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg lives and works in London.