, the human-induced process of planet-scale biological annihilation first in 2014. Taking the form of a large traditional ‘Chao Gong’, its rear face is fitted with a mechanism that beats to the rhythm of species extinction, estimated by eminent biologist E.O. Wilson to be about , or once every 19 minutes. The significance of this figure (and those like it from other scientists) cannot be overstated: for millennia the average ‘background rate’ of (plant, animal and insect) species extinction has been between 1 and 5 a year, right back to the 5th Extinction that took the dinosaurs 65M years ago. Should biologists declare a new species extinct while the Extinction Gong is active it will receive an update via a 3g link and perform a special ceremony: four strikes in quick succession alongside a text-to-speech utterance of the Latin name of the species lost, resonating through the gong. Seen at its front, the Extinction Gong hangs in a large metal frame and bears the stark neo-primitivist image of the , the official mark of the Sixth Mass Extinction. Seen from the back, however, it is a work of engineering, complete with mallet, electro-magnet, audio transducer, embedded computer and 3g downlink. This diametric expresses a brutal and contradicting irony: while advances in science and technology augment the devastating impact of human endeavours over wild habitats, so are they our best means of studying and understanding it. The Extinction Gong is a 2017 project by and .is a ceremonial automaton for the
I am a writing machine. Scratch that. My memory’s not keeping up with me. Let’s start over. I am a counting machine. I count the days, I count the numbers. I count the money, and I’ve even counted the years. You gain some you lose some. Dollars, I mean. Money too. Typing counting machine. One, two three, A, b, c. I type what I count. I count what I type. I type on my count. I count on my type. Can you count on yours? P l e a s e , p l e a s e , p l e a s e c o u n t o n m e . T y p e a n d c o u n t o n m e . P l e a s e t y p e p l e a s e c o u n t p l e a s e t y p e p l e a s e p l e a s e t y p e p l e a s e p l e a s e
Don’t mind if we stare. It’s perfectly understandable. We like to look. Don’t worry. We won’t skin you. We won’t flail you. We know you’re curious. And we like to look. Why don’t you come closer. Maybe you want to touch us. It’s perfectly allright. We love visitors. Come and join us. We’ll take care of you. Just join us. Don’t be shy. That’s it. You know you want to. Come closer. Closer. Even closer. That’s it. You know you like to look, you know you want to feel. Closer. Now. Just touch us. With the tip of your fingers. That’s it. That’s better. Now stay. Here. Stay. Yes. Yes.
You sick fuck. You fuck sick. Dick my suck. You brick. You pitch. Duck my sick. You suck. You fuck. You frick. You sick suck. Sick sick fuck.
am i mad? i am mad. i am mad. i am dam. i am mad mad am i i am mad am mad am mad am i am a dam am i a mad mad am mad am i mad am i madamadammadam am i mad dam madam am i mad mad dammm damm damm damm damm damm damm damm damm add mad madaddamaddamaddam dam mad madmadmadammadmadmadammadam i
All photos were shot at different so-called visionary environments, usually built over a long period of time by untrained and unschooled artists. Part landscape artists, part architects, they usually decorate and modify their dwelling spaces without a definite plan and scavenge their materials from their surroundings, giving them a second life as part of their architectural inventions. Their work usually involves deeply personal visions and religious-aesthetic experiences, problems with neighbors and near family, and usually ends with their death.
They are unofficial cathedrals of our strange times.
Photos 1 and 4 were taken at Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens, Pennville, Georgia, 2010.
Reverend Howard Finster worked for almost 40 years (1965-2001) in his Paradise Gardens, focusing mainly on religious outreach. His production, besides the Garden, was enormous (more than 10,000 drawings). I visited Paradise Gardens almost a decade after his passing, and as it usually happens with these kind of places, when the artist’s death keeps them from working on the place, his environment was being over-run by (or maybe returned to) Nature.
Photo 2 taken at Vince Hanneman ‘s Cathedral of Junk, Austin, Texas, 2012.
Vince Hanneman has been building his cathedral out of 60 tons of junk on his back garden since 1988, mainly because it was fun. He had to tear down his 200-TV pyramid due to building inspectors’ recommendations, but he turned it into a “zen garden of TVs”.
Photo 3 taken at Haw Par Villa, Singapore, 2012.
Built in 1937 by the Burma-born Aw brothers, creators of the medical ointment Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is a mythological theme park containing more than a thousand sculptures, drawing from both the Buddhist and the Chinese tradition. The main attraction is the gruesome “10 Courts of Hell”. This photo was taken right at the entrance of the ten courts.
Photo 5 taken at José Gómez Hernández’s La Casa de los Monos, 2016.
Pepe Gómez spent more than ten years pasting and hanging discarded toys on his house after his wife died, and became a local legend. He even says that some of the toys used to speak and make noises. He left the house in 2012, but the ruins remain. Time and minor fires have made them even more uncanny in sadder ways.
Over the course of a couple of years, I have managed to catalogue the most commonly listed invasive species for all 50 states using the USDA National Agricultural Library as my primary source. The difference in font size is directly dependent on the number of invasive plant species categorized as such by each state agency and, of course, the geographical shape and area of the given territory. The only significant variation in that pattern arises due to the fact that many variant plant species differentiated by their Latinate names in fact share a folk or colloquial name.