The Pollinator Commission

2021-

Algorithmic garden design tool, website, edition gardens.

Commissioned by the Eden Project Cornwall. Funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional partners Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture. 

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

A newly-commissioned artwork for 2021 that asks visitors to view the world from the perspective of plants and pollinators and to take part in a cultural project to help save bees and other endangered species of pollinating insects. 

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has been commissioned to create a new, permanent outdoor installation at the Eden Project which explores the story of the UK’s indigenous pollinators: their vital role, their current plight, and the plans and need for their conservation. The living artwork will comprise a new garden, designed, planted and optimised for pollinators, rather than humans, using a specially designed algorithm and curated palette of plants. Ginsberg is collaborating with Eden’s expert network of horticulturists, scientists and consultants and drawing upon contemporary research on pollinator decline, the interrelationship with widespread biodiversity loss, and most importantly alternative approaches to this serious problem.  

The second part of the artwork is a new website where UK audiences can use the same algorithm to generate their own unique planting scheme of locally-appropriate plants for bees and other pollinators, as a call to action to plant your own pollinator garden. The in-app algorithm will create a planting design from a wide range of plants chosen primarily for their benefits to pollinators. In line with Ginsberg’s artistic practice, the artwork uses technology to raise awareness of one of the greatest challenges facing the natural world. 

With audiences joining in and planting their own gardens - using Ginsberg’s digital artwork to do so - they are able to create their own artwork at home. As participants, we are asked to consider what a garden is and what - or who - it can be for. 

As part of the Serpentine Gallery's Back to Earth project, the Serpentine will work with Eden Project and with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg to investigate the possibility of a London garden optimised for pollinators, and to disseminate the website to its audiences and networks, with the aim of multiplying the number of pollinator-optimised gardens worldwide.

As a first release within the Back to Earth framework, Ginsberg had a conversation with Serpentine’s Curator of Exhibition and Design, Rebecca Lewin, in a discussion jointly produced on the occasion of a collaboration between Serpentine and the Archaeological Park of Pompeii’s contemporary art platform, Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters. Watch the video here.


CREDITS

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Design & Research: Iman Raisa Datoo
Producer: Cecilie Gravesen

Algorithm: Dr Przemek Witaszczyk, Jagiellonian University
Website: The Workers
Identity: Studio Frith 

Eden Project
Curators: Céline Holman, Misha Curson
Interpretation: Dr Jo Elworthy
Horticulture: Colin Skelly, Jane Knight
Beekeeper: Rodger Dewhurst
Eden press team: Nicola Jeffs

The commission is part of the Eden Project’s three year project Create a Buzz, to communicate the story of the UK’s native pollinators: their vital role, their current plight and their restoration. 

Full credits to follow. 

Preparatory sketch by the artist, 2020. © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

1/3