The idea comes from a project called "E. chromi", developed by British artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg in 2009. Since learning about the emerging technoscience of "synthetic biology" as a student in 2008, Ginsberg has explored how the interconnection of the natural and the man-made evolves through advances in design and technology. Over the past ten years her research has taken her into labs to collaborate with scientists and biologists, gaining deep insight into the political, cultural, economic, and technological implications of this field. Her projects and writings are based on examining the human impulse to "better" the world. But who exactly defines what better means? A weighty question in these times of ecological crisis.

A solo exhibition of Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg with six of her projects from the last decade can be seen in a solo exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein (open until 24 November 2019).

Unity screenshot from The Wilding of Mars, 2019.
Among them are two new projects that mark a new phase in Ginsberg’s artistic trajectory, as she shifted from the investigation of synthetic biology to a broader investigation of our relationship with nature and the nonhuman. For "Resurrecting the Sublime" (2019) Ginsberg collaborated with Christina Agapakis of the biotechnology company Ginkgo Bioworks and smell researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas to reconstruct the scent molecules of extinct flowers lost due to colonial activity.

They gave visitors an opportunity to smell an extinct flower whose scent was recreated with the help of DNA samples from the herbarium archive at Harvard University. A work that invites us to contemplate what we value and to think about changing our behaviour for the future. Another project from 2019 is a digital work called "The Wilding of Mars".

Pioneers and Descendants: selected generated new subspecies from The Wilding of Mars, 2019.
Presented here for the first time, it proposes an alternative to the colonization of foreign planets, one that is free from human exploitation.

Installation view, Vitra Design Museum Gallery, 2019. Photograph: © Vitra Design Museum, Bettina Matthiesen.
Installation view, Vitra Design Museum Gallery, 2019. Photograph: © Vitra Design Museum, Bettina Matthiesen.
Resurrecting the Subline Tissue, Reconstruction 1, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg