RE-WILDLING by Jakob Kudsk Steensen
A Daata Editions Commission. daata-editions.com
RE-WILDLING is a video artwork about extinction, preservation, and the emergence of new ecological realities. It is inspired by the re-introduction of a previously extinct crow to the Big Island of Hawaii, which it approaches through a cultural and scientific lens. As an important actor in a number of global mythologies, the crow is infused with a cultural significance that sets it apart from many other species. The Hawaiian Crow (locally known as Alalā) was declared extinct in the early 2000s, but thanks to the `Alalā Restoration Project, 6 crows were reintroduced into the wild in 2017.
RE-WILDLING is composed of 3D-scanned wings, bird guts, plants, moss, and rocks, which are remixed together with audio recordings of ornithologists talking about the animal. The video starts on a moist forest floor made from photo-scanned organic material, and continues on a slow journey into another reality where trees grow feathers, roots are organic veins, and the crow itself exists as a fluorescent, sentient flying entity. First rooted in an ecological past, RE-WILDLING evolves into a new liquid reality, where species, technologies, and cultural mythologies about nature intertwine.
RE-WILDING is part of a year-long project on the theme of re-animation by artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen. The project was show in the artist’s first institutional solo show, “RE-ANIMATED”, in Denmark at Tranen Contemporary Art Center, curated by Toke Lykkeberg. The project was realized in collaboration with composer Michael Risman, Musical Director of the Philip Glass Ensemble, the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, and with support from The Danish Arts Foundation, Harvestworks, Mana Contemporary, and Bikuben Foundation.