Encyclopidae Rerum Naturalium

Statement : My works are concerned with the convergence of artistic practice with natural sciences, which was commonplace in 18th Century Europe and the Americas. Draftsmen of the time, under highly commissioned patronage, depicted their natural world; plants, animals, birds and minerals, hence contributing to taxonomic knowledge repositories (like the famous Paper Museum of Windsor), later to be coined as Encyclopedias. The historical purpose of this endeavor led to the establishment of observational research and the expansion of natural sciences, under a know-thyself-and-your-environment socio-cultural mandate. With the Encyclopidae Rerum Naturalium portfolio, my purpose is quite different. As the title hints, I have appropriated species of vegetables and, referencing the work of illustrators of the 18th century, I have made encyclopedia-style representations of them. I have used ironic, scientific-like titles in broken Latin and vegetables with uncommon organic shapes. My objective is to revive and to comment on this fascination-for-knowledge’s-sake, with collection and taxonomy, as I believe it is reoccurring in our current digital era. Digital, remote, servers are now cramped with unsolicited digital objects (including plants, animal, birds and minerals). Although various human computer interfaces and databases are up to the task (with key words, tags or version controls) of arranging them in taxa, in ways that will assist knowledge or science advance, this labor is practically impossible due to the plurality of contributors and the plethora of digital objects and their copies. Encyclopidae Rerum Naturalium echoes Joan Fontcuberta’s seminal works, Herbarium and Fauna Secreta and reopens the conversation on the relationship of knowledge with truth and on the validity of knowledge and its evidence, in the Digital Age.