linnean society

Linnean Society
Video HD

Taxonomy, the system of classification of natural species, was created in the context of the European enlightenment by Carl von Linné (Sweden, 1707-1778). In this time, the foundations of Western domination over knowledge were consolidated. This revolutionary system led, along with other technological advances such as navigation around the planet, the exponential expansion of colonialism on a global level. The taxonomy is still today the scientific system that orders the natural classification of species with their names written in Latin. It is possible that in the scientific field the idea of ​​destabilizing the notion we have about this method may seem like an eccentric attempt. However, I consider it interesting, and even necessary, to do it from art, exploring the problematizing possibilities together with the critical reflections on a system so culturally assimilated. Exploring different points of view can generate interesting questions, such as: How can we develop a queer / feminist view on this matter? What happened with the displaced local knowledge? In the public sphere, what objectives does the systematic classification of knowledge pursue? What impact did the universal classification have on the social texture? What degree of imposition and cultural domination denotes this method of classification? What relationship does it have with the colonialist expansion of western civilizations?

One of the visits required to study the history of the taxonomy is the “The Linnean Society”, where they lodge Linné’s extensive library and his personal collection of more than 55,000 specimens of plants, animals and minerals sent by his disciples from all over the world. Paradoxically this collection is no longer in Sweden but in the last colonizing power of Europe, Great Britain. “The Linnean Society”, located in the heart of London, keeps jealously this historical collection far from the general public’s eyes because of their great importance and fragility. This audiovisual project, shows a recording of a guided tour of this collection. I was fortunate to do it during a taxonomic drawing course that I attended, to be able to visit the institution, and in which they gave me permission to make some photographs. The recording, almost accidentally, ended up being a reflective action on the historical patrimony subtraction carried out by the last colonizing powers such as Great Britain or the United States of America and now exhibited in their institutions.