Vivarium was an interactive installation inspired by ideas relating to de-extinction, conservation efforts, and the concept of Necrofauna. This project combined Creative hacking, audio, documentary film, Visual coding, and physical sculpture.


This project began in a different place than where I left it. Having recently lost someone. I was forced to reflect on what our familial relationship had been. Long distance phone calls, I had little interaction outside of what I knew through the internet: their social platforms and direct messaging apps. The idea of digital memorials was therefore the path on which I began my research. Looking at death in the age of the internet, focused primarily on what this means, where we are headed and how these digital footprints haunt us. Facebook became one of the first platforms to offer memorial accounts: a digital graveyard. It was when a member of my family decided to use the recently deceased's account to contact the rest of us that this project shifted lenses. What had been a ghost became Frankenstein's monster, inflicting more harm upon the rest of my living family.

When I started my project I knew that I wanted to explore the strange control that science has given humanity over death and the replication of those who have died. I was inspired by a story I had read in which a group of historians and scientists experimented with recreating a mummy’s voice using 3D printing technology to recreate their voice box. There was something unnerving about the idea this mummy’s voice would be heard now, centuries after their death, and separate from the person to whom it originally belonged. Whilst the experiment inspired criticism and laughter from wider audiences I was unsettled. It was the idea that scientists could reach back in time and take something like this, a person’s voice (Or the closest thing) for their own use. Although the intentions of the scientists involved appear positive it can be concerning to see that those who died were not immune to the reaches of the technology that has developed since their death.


My research eventually led me to the idea of NecroFauna and I did not stray far for the rest of this project. I wanted to research extinct species and the idea of de-extinction throughout this project.
Fascinated by the idea we could bring these species back from the
dead, that these creatures are not immune to the reaches of human technology, and the ethical implications of this. The more that I researched these species, the stories of their extinction, and the implications of bringing them "back," the
more I began to doubt whether this process could ever be ethical.

This trinity includes the first: the cost of resurrection. Any money that is given to the de-extinction effort is money that might have been spent conserving current species. The second is that any species brought back would not be the same species that died out. We would simply be creating a new species, a copy of what we assumed the first to be. Studies have shown that many bird songs are learned from older birds meaning that these songs are lost forever. As is the world and habitats that many of these species originally called home. The Third issue and the issue most important to me is the question of why. Why are we bringing these flawed replicants into the world? Is it to ease extinction guilt? If this is the case we are once again inflicting harm for our own benefit. With resources that would be better spent preventing living species from meeting the same fate. It is more likely than not that these resurrected species would become products once again. A novelty to be viewed in Zoos and filmed for documentaries, exotic pets, or, as has already been exhibited in the recent mammoth meat experiment, a source of meat, milk, eggs, fur, leather...


Whilst conservationists continue to argue for the conservation of endangered species over the resurrection of extinct ones and the process of de-extinction appears too expensive for any immediate effort. This is still an idea that remains trapped at the forefront of scientific research. As long as we have their DNA we can bring them back.
They are never fully dead. They haunt us.

Where VIVARIUM came from

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