Exhibitions of the HYBRID_MATTERs project


What kind of life forms will survive with us or without us in other kinds of conditions than what we currently have on planet Earth? What kind of conditions and organisms are forming at the intersection of technological and biological evolution and human agency?

The project (in progress) investigates Normann fir Christmas tree as a postnatural organism and exposes it to changing conditions, such as micro gravitation with continuous rotational movement. The underlying idea speculates whether or not Christmas trees can survive in changing environmental conditions; on a different planet, on a polluted place or in an environment that has experienced drastic changes.

In this project the actual tree in question is no longer a natural species, but has gone through several evolutions of artificial selection. These specific trees that are today growing in the fields of Denmark originated from seeds that have been collected in Caucasus forests. Previously, Christmas trees were growing from seeds hoping for exemplary trees with seeds to be used for the next generation of elite trees, however today, the process is being improved with development of suitable and efficient cloning techniques at Copenhagen University’s Tissue Culture Lab. Currently, the exemplary individual tree is cloned (with somatic embryogenesis) to produce thousands and thousands of 'perfect trees' for growing in the fields of Denmark targeting the European Christmas tree markets. These trees are designed and replicated to match the customers’ wishes. Our interest is firstly in this type of organism, which is both biological and cultural, and selected based on aesthetical and visual criteria, and secondly in the Danish Christmas tree development in which economic factors play an essential role. The Christmas tree market brings a good amount of money to Denmark through the production of 10 million trees yearly from which only 10% stay in Denmark, the rest are exported to other European countries.

Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), has become a representative of the perfect Christmas tree for Danes and has gained success through its suitability for growing in the Danish climate conditions. It has also become the economically most important tree species in Danish forestry. Currently, this species is being tested and developed for cloning with an aim for improved profit through efficient mass production of Christmas trees.

All the trees implemented into the installation are one and the same tree genetically. The Condition creates a speculative idea for a forest of the future in small-scale. This forest consists of biological organisms, technology and control, and cultural associations that culminate through economic interests.

The work is constructed in the boundary-space of the real (real world, real living organism, real system) and imagined (artifacts, artificial construction, artificial intelligence). It aims at presenting several perspectives and issues at the same time with a goal to push the audience to form emerging questions and thoughts.

March-December 2016