Small Object of Desire #94 – Self-Owning Augmented Forest

Yes, you read that right.

I went to an art exhibition with a difference the other day. The venue – Furtherfield Gallery – is the tiniest I’ve been to, 10 people gathered in there began to feel like a tight squeeze. And it was located in the middle of Finsbury Park. That represented a first for me on both counts of location and venue. Then the exhibits themselves were eye-popping and intriguing not only because of their aesthetic qualties (baby dragon flower, anyone?) but also because of the clear, focused and frankly wonderfully bonkers intentions behind the so-called art. I can honestly say that I’d never encountered anything quite like this before.

terra0 is a self-owning augmented forest. According to the blurb on the website: “the project is meant to be an ongoing art project that strives to set up a prototype of a self-utilised piece of land.” Put simply, this is a scenario where it is possible for a forest to eventually buy itself so that it becomes its own owner! Which would then mean that it is in the position to buy more ground and expand.

I’m so fascinated by this idea that I’ve since signed up to the mailing list but on the day of the exhibition, I actually contributed some money towards the project. This involved converting £2 into cryptocurrency which in turn would make the plant-like exhibits made of metal, glass and electricity acknowledge your contribution by doing a little dance.

Dancing Plantoid 2 from Dzifa Benson on Vimeo.

My mind is still blown from this and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole notion but I like that it questions the concepts of economics, ownership, personhood, purpose, function, property, blockchain technology, nature, culture……it turns so many things on their heads. You could do worse than taking half an hour out of your day to read up about it. 


Small Object of Desire #92 – Birds

In the project Ornitographies, the photographer “Xavi Bou focuses on birds, his great passion, in order to capture in a single time frame, the shapes they generate when flying, making visible the invisible.”

These photographs attract and repel me simultaneously. I’m attracted because I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. It’s intriguing to see bird flight depicted in this way. The images are beautiful too. But I’m repelled because I find the photographs creepy as well. The flight paths are sinuous like a serpent’s movements and a feathery serpent at that. They look like monsters. Or aliens swarming. I get the heebie-jeebies when I’m confronted by animals gathered en masse so the idea of a swarm makes my skin crawl. I seriously considered not posting about them, that’s how uncomfortable they made me but in the end, the strange beauty of the images won out over the morbid thoughts.

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Small Object of Desire #87 – Purple Googly-Eyed Stubby Squid

Just look at it! Adorable, right? How can you resist? Is it one of those plastic toys you squeeze rhythmically for stress relief?  Or maybe it’s a cute animated character? The latest emoji?

In fact, it’s a real creature of the deep with Latin name Rossia pacifica and not a true squid even though it looks like a cross between that and an octopus. In fact, it’s more along the lines of a cuttlefish. Stubby squid? A purple, googly-eyed stubby squid?

Stubby squid. That everyday name doesn’t sound like it belongs to a grown-up kind of animal. Or like an animal that wants its dignity to be taken seriously.

I’m so glad God has a sense of humour. Find out more at Time Magazine.