Pollinator Pathmaker

2021-

Algorithmic garden design tool, website, unlimited Edition Gardens.

Originally commissioned by the Eden Project and funded by Garfield Weston Foundation. Additional founding supporters Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of Eden Project Edition Garden 1 (detail), 2021.

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of Eden Project Edition Garden 1 (detail), 2021.

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of a generated garden. 

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of a generated garden. 

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of a generated garden. 

Pollinator Pathmaker is a campaign to make art for pollinators, planted and cared for by humans. We want to transform how we see gardens and who we make them for. Created by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, this one-of-a-kind, interspecies artwork was commissioned by the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK.

Visit the artwork at pollinator.art.

Bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, and other pollinators are essential for many plant species to reproduce and for ecosystems to flourish. But human-made habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and climate change are causing a terrifying decline in pollinator populations around the world.

Without pollinators, many plants can’t reproduce and make seeds. Without seeds, many of the trees, flowers, and crops we rely on simply wouldn’t exist. Plants are vital to the survival of life on Earth, including us. How and what we plant matters, so Ginsberg asked: what would a garden look like if it were designed from a pollinator's perspective, rather than ours?

Pollinators see colours differently from us, forage in different ways, and emerge in different seasons to each other. As a result, a garden designed for them may look quite different from a garden designed for us.

The first Pollinator Pathmaker Edition Garden – a 55m permanent installation – is now open at the Eden Project, Cornwall, with more large public gardens to follow around the world (read about commissioning an Edition Garden).

Pollinator Pathmaker is not just about large public gardens: at pollinator.art you can use the algorithmic tool for free to make your own garden artwork. Simply follow the steps in the algorithmic toolbox to select your garden conditions and play with how the algorithm solves the problem of empathy. It then generates a garden design for you; each design created is a one-off edition of the artwork.

Thanks to Ginsberg’s 450 digital plant paintings, you can explore your garden as a 3D painting or planting plan, zoom in or fly through it like a pollinator, learn more about your plants, and use ‘pollinator vision’ to imagine how pollinators see it. Then share or save the link to revisit your garden, download your planting instructions (complete with a certificate of authenticity for your editioned artwork), and if you can, plant it!

Every garden planted – from back yard to windowsill to museum grounds – is a living artwork designed and tended with empathy for the tastes of pollinators, not ours.

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.

Working with Eden’s horticulturalists, pollinator experts, and an AI scientist, Ginsberg devised a unique algorithmic tool that will always make the most empathetic planting design. She defines this as planting to support the greatest diversity of pollinator species. The algorithm solves this problem, choosing and arranging from a curated palette of locally appropriate plants. Every garden it generates is different, but each is computed to support the maximum pollinator species possible.

Pollinator Pathmaker is a response to human-made ecological damage. By creating for other species, it uses art to give us empathy and agency to care for them. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced gardener, join us in this art-led campaign to create the world’s largest climate-positive artwork together.


CREDITS

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg


Digital Plant Paintings: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Designer and Researcher: Iman Datoo
Producer: Cecilie Gravesen
Studio Manager: Emily Sofaly
Algorithm Developer: Dr Przemek Witaszczyk
Website: The Workers
Visual Identity: Studio Frith
Sound Design: Nick Ryan

Eden Project
Curators: Misha Curson, Céline Holman
Associate Curator and Project Manager: Sara Matson
Interpretation: Dr Jo Elworthy and the Interpretation Team
Horticulture: Colin Skelly, Julie Kendall, Jane Knight, and the Living Landscapes Team
Beekeeper: Rodger Dewhurst
PR: Nicola Jeffs, O'Leary Jeffs

Expert Advisors: Professor Dave Goulson, Marc Carlton, Professor Lars Chittka, Dr Jolyon Troscianko, Markus Radscheit MSc., and Tom Keay

Eden Apprentices: Vicky Carter, Georgina Tackaberry, Yasmin Macneil, Nile Maskell, Alex Lanteigne, Caroline Pheasey, and Aaron Sexton, Students from MSc Land & Ecological Restoration at the Eden Project

Thank you: Silvia Baumgart, Clare Brooks, Maria Bukhtoyarova, Alan Curson, Mikhail Datoo, David Gore, Cathy Johns, Christian Klotz, Inigo Minns, Richard Moross, and Burcu Yuksel.

Originally commissioned by the Eden Project and funded by Garfield Weston Foundation. Additional founding supporters Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.

International Edition Founding Commissioners: Light Art Space. Edition Garden Commissioners: Serpentine Galleries.

Pollinator Pathmaker, Digital rendering of Eden Project Edition Garden 1 (detail), 2021.

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

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