Examining the cultural institutions that have shaped human engagement with and perception of wild animals -The Circus, Zoological Garden, and Safari Park- this ecological prototype aims to represent the next generation of human to animal interaction.
Within 'Regent's Park of Evolutionary Development', animal habitats have been specifically designed to enforce the re-adaptation and re-purposing of genetic mutations within designed species. These new breeds are engineered (evolved through synthetic biology and artificial selection) for life in a man-made wilderness. Visitors are invited to become explorers in a new age of discovery, and to consider the impact that direct contact and observation of wildlife has upon our collective imagination.
Propelled by the work of animal scientists, welfare advocates, food ethicists, ethno-botanists, sociologists, biologists, and anthropologists, this project is an attempt to question the current cultural institutions through which we relate to animals.
Utilizing taxidermy and various techniques of scientific model making, each diorama is meant to create a picture of reality that convincingly conflates the potential of science with the possibilities of fiction. By grounding each creature's anatomy in existing morphology (a branch of biology structure within organisms and their specific features), these animals represent a speculative morphogenesis that should raise awareness of the remarkable adaptations already existing within ecologies, but also prompt viewers to question what types of experiences could be created by involving technology, human desire, and imagination in the future of our co-evolution with other forms of life.
THE RETROREFLECTIVE CARNIVORE
THE BEAKED PORCUPINE
PIGEON OF PARADISE
INTERNATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL DIPLOMACY
In the past governments have gifted indiginous and emblematic species to foreign nations as tokens of goodwill for building international relations. In a new form of diplomacy, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom have begun a biological and genetic exchange program referred to as ‘The Pigeon of Paradise’ in which genes from several species of Birds of Paradise were embedded in the Genome of the common ‘Rock Dove’. After multiple trials, the team of geneticists and zoologists created a new synthetic genome that combined mutations found in both species. This landmark accomplishment not only serves as pioneering work in biology, but as the start of a new paradigm of evolutionary speciation and genetic distribution. The goal of this partnership is to eventually create a species which embody the goodwill between nation through annual migrations between New Guinea and the UK.
Pigeons have been bred through artificial selection by humans for more than 3000 years. The physical variation within Pigeon breeds is greater than any other species of bird and was the basis for Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection. Pigeons are present on every continent but Antartica.
Birds of Paradise are the result of millions of years of almost purely sexual selection. Their physical and behavioral adaptations are unique amongst all birds. They are endemic to New Guinea, parts of Australia, and live no where else on Earth.
A SOLUTION FOR URBAN LIGHT POLLUTION
Cities have become a force of evolution. Housing over 50% of the world’s human population cities draw on the resources from outside. Zootopia is a urban paradise in which man has adapted city infrastructure for novel creatures that are part of the new Urban nature.
In most cities, we cannot see the stars. Urban light pollution, caused by public and commercial lighting, not only affects our ability to gaze into the night sky, but also disturbs existing ecological dynamics. Light pollution can disrupt animal navigation, alter competitive interactions between organisms and changes predator-prey relations.
The Bio-luminescent Owl is a species designed to provide an alternative to public lighting within Urban areas.
WHAT DOES THE FUNGUS KNOW?
Human emotional stability and well being are becoming a driving factor in modern Urban ecosystems. Although Fungus has a reputation within the Home as an intruder or spoiler, this project seeks to explore both the aesthetic and physical capabilities by which fungus could adapt to peacefully co-habitate and influence contemporary human settlements.
As evidence mounts that mood is highly determined by the presence or absence of different gut bacteria, Fungus Domesticus form a dynamic network capable of sensing the psychotropic atmosphere within communities by living off of and digesting the contents of its fecal waste. Using the Loevheim cube of human emotion as a model of emotional modification, three species of Fungus Domesticus produce airborne spores in proportion to the different bacteria digested from the human waste nearby. Once inhaled by humans, these spores can repopulate the gut to affect Serotonin, Noradrenaline, and Dopamine levels within individuals. By doing so, fungus can continue its evolutionary role as an ecosystem stabilizer by addressing the emotional balance of humans as a leading factor in urban habitat health.
A BOTANICAL INVESTIGATION
Victorian Plant hunters prized new species of Orchids and traveled the globe in pursuit of their beauty. Since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, over 100,000 unique Orchid hybrids and cultivars have been created. In 2005, 18 million potted orchids were sold at wholesale.
Recently, a new flowering plant belonging to the Orchidaceae family has been discovered in the highlands of Northern Peru. Long a part of local folklore and known to natives as 'The Bleeding Flower', its petals change coloration throughout a 28 day bloom cycle, in sympathy to hormonal changes of women in close proximity. It is believed to have been used a means of encouraging genetic variation through visually displaying the fertility status of groups of women living in remote villages.
Although many plants inter-communicate though pheramonal messages, this is believed to be the first species sensitive to human pheromones. It is currently under review by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or U.P.O.V., the species may become available commercially in the near future.
A REPORT ON EMERGING SPORTS
Z.G.T. (ZeitGeist Tracker)- A London based Trend forecasting agency - presents the seasonal trend ‘Nostalgic Modernism’ and reports on potential market opportunities in London. The emergence of a new underground sport - Fixed Gear Fox Hunting - embodies the spirit of ‘Nostalgic Modernism’ by re-inventing traditional British sporting heritage in response to contemporary urban life. Fixed Gear Fox Hunting replaces the horse power with empowered bikers and sprawling forests with urban sprawl. Still niche but growing in numbers, FGFH shows the promise of becoming a counter-culture movement with trend-setting influence.
Despite extreme secrecy Z.G.T. was able to catch up with a couple of Fixie Foxhunting enthusiasts to hear their thoughts on taking up this new sport.
DOMESTICATING THE MYTHOLOGICAL
Located in the foothills of western Massachusetts, Unipure Farms raises purebred organic Unis and offers a variety of Uni by-products ranging from hides to hairbrushes. Because of the purity of their bloodlines Unipure Farm’s Unis produce hair, meat, hide, horn and hooves of exceptional quality. All products are processed and assembled on site in order to insure animal welfare and sustainability.
This informative brochure details Unipure Farm’s environmentally responsible approach to Organic Unicorn farming and some of the exceptional products they offer.
Kathryn Fleming is a multidisciplinary designer exploring the intersections of science, art and technology. After working as a product designer in the furniture and footwear industries, she now seeks to explore the narratives humans use to understand other forms of life by drawing on her deep interest in natural history and storytelling. Spanning mythology to contemporary biology, her work employs the art and craft of taxidermy as a method to prototype new organisms and to create a picture of reality which conflates the potential of science with the possibilities of fiction. Her biological models and designed interactions aim to question the cultural institutions through which humans interact with animals, and speculate about the future potential of human and animal evolution. Fleming holds a bachelor's degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master's degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art.
NEXT BRAVE NEW WORLD
LONDON, UK 21/08/2014 – 16/09/2014
TEST LAB: THE GRADUATION EDITION
ROTTERDAM, NL 7/10/2014
V2 - Institute for the Unstable Media
LONDON, UK 14/06/2014 - 28/06/2014
Royal College of Art
TALKS + EVENTS
NEXT BRAVE NEW WORLD - DINNER & DISCUSSION
LONDON, UK 8/20/2014
Arebyte Gallery & The Yard Theatre
TEST LAB: THE GRADUATION EDITION
ROTTERDAM, NL 10/07/2014
V2 - Institute for the Unstable Media
RCA GRADUATION SHOW INDUSTRY NIGHT
LONDON, UK 6/25/2014
Royal College of Art
OXFORD, UK 5/17/2014
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
TAXIDERMY AS A TOOL FOR REIMAGINING NATURE
LONDON, UK 5/07/2014
Royal College of Art, Design Interactions Lecture Series
Kathryn Fleming at Design Indaba Graduate Pecha Kucha
Kathryn Fleming is talking about her work and the potentials of technology in natural evolution at this years Design Indaba Conference. She was invited to Cape Town, South Africa along with 7 other recent graduates from all over the world.