Margherita Pevere: artist-in-residency
febrero 14, 2022
Image by Joan Martínez Urango
Nature and Us
abril 28, 2022


Alone or in Mound? LASER PARIS

21st April 2022, Paris (FR)

Initiated by Leonardo/ISAST, LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendez-vous) is the sharing of experiences about art-science projects in semi-formal meetings outside the institutional format. In the context of Roots and Seeds XXI, the LASER event unfolds with the participation of Roots & Seeds XXI 's production awardee, Laura Cinti, and artist-in-residency Marit Mihklepp, together with conservation scientist Debbie Jewitt and ecologist Meredith Root-Bernstein. 


The Living Dead - On the trail of a female (2022).
Laura Cinti, artist and Roots and Seeds XXI's production awardee and Debbie Jewitt, conservation scientist for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the provincial conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

How to reproduce when you are the last male of your species and all the females have disappeared? No science fiction here but the reality of Encephalartos woodii, a tropical plant of the cycad family of which only one male remained and whose clones live in botanical gardens. What to do when faced with the loss of a species? Should it be preserved no matter what, should it be recreated?

Laura Cinti, in collaboration with the conservation scientist Debbie Jewitt, went in search of a hypothetical female in the South African forests where E. woodii originated. The Living Dead – On the trail of a female (2022) is a biodiversity-focused art-science project searching for a female mate for one of the rarest plants on Earth, the extinct-in-the-wild cycad – the Encephalartos woodii. Only one male specimen was found in the Ngoye Forest in 1895 and all specimens, in botanical gardens, are clones derived from offsets from the only known male plant which was removed from the wild. Despite excursions in the Ngoye Forest area, no other specimens of E.woodii have been found in the wild. E. woodii and the missing female is a dramatic illustration of how easy it is to lose a species and our biodiversity. The presentation discussed the project’s latest mission utilising remote sensing technologies – drones – to search for the E.woodii in the Ngoya Forest in South Africa.

Marit Mihklepp in conversation with Meredith Root-Bertnstein
Marit Miklepp, Estonian artist and resident with Roots and Seeds XXI, and Meredith Root-Bernstein, ethnobiologist, ecologist, conservation scientist, CNRS researcher at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Mounds and heaps are "treasure boxes" for archaeologists but also for ethnobiologists and conservation specialists. Between "archive" and "instrument of life evolution", these piles and heaps are at the heart of the collaboration between Marit Mihklepp, recipient of the Roots & Seeds XXI Residence - Maison Malina and Meredith Root-Bernstein, researcher at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, who will report about their exploration of the Parisian accumulations, piles and holes.

We will be sharing our impressions of our two-week collaboration while thinking and being with the mounds, heaps and holes of Paris. Mounds, heaps, and piles, and their complements, pits, holes and depressions, are the most primordial form of technique or technology. Accumulations make possible new materialities, affordances, and interactions. The making of concentrations in space is a condition for the evolution of life, and all of ecology can be described as moving and reshuffling piles of things. The mound, heap, or pile, is also an epistemological object: it is an archive. We will be approaching ‘large piles of something’ both with field work practices from both ecological and artistic perspectives. We start with finding and mapping specific mounds, writing field notes, perhaps making our own mound. In the process we will be asking questions from the mounds: what kind of knowledge are you an archive of? What kind of movements are you holding? How did you get here? How would you make me part of you?

Moderated by Annick Bureaud

Initiated by Leonardo/ISAST, LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendez-vous) is the sharing of experiences about art-science projects in semi-formal meetings outside the institutional format. The LASER Paris Meeting of April 21st 2022 was co-organized by Leonardo/Olats and La Diagonale Paris-Saclay with the support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation and the Creative Europe Programme of the Eurpean Union, in collaboration with the Cité internationale des arts and the Laboratory TEAMeD of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis University and the Research University School ArTeC.