In my research on Taxonomy, I learned that Carl von Linné, the father of this branch of science, and his colleagues believed that mythological animals, such as dragons or unicorns, had sometime existed in natural history but were already extinct. This category was called Animalia Paradoxa since there was no reliable evidence. As the investigation of the natural classification was progressing, this category disappeared from the later editions of Sistema Naturae, Linné’s most important work. This project takes this anecdote as a point of departure and speculates on a future situation in which human beings have been replaced by a collective artificial intelligence. An intelligence that, after some technological accidents caused by the last humans, has a diffused, mixed and fragmented memory of the human existence, of its habits, its places and its cultural manifestations. However, the new collective intelligence is still fascinated by its creators. To increase their knowledge about them, they create bodies in human “image and resemblance” (or what they think they were) to investigate their vestiges and customs.
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?
With Raquel Gualtero, César López
Make up Natalia Campos