We are very inspired by the latest project of French photographer Vincent Fournier named Post Natural History. The marvelous project is based on current research regarding synthetic biology and the reprogramming of stem cells and is being exhibited for the public now at The Ravestijn Gallery in Amsterdam. Since visiting the Palais de la Découverte in Paris as a young boy, Fournier has highly been fascinated by the wonders of the world; such as astronomy, space travel, geology, biology and physics which clearly shows in his work.
For Post Natural History Fournier collaborated with a team of specialists at a 3D imaging laboratory in Brussels to have imaginary evolutions super-imposed onto the photographs of the various animal species. The results include a collection depicting a lizard with reflective scales, a beetle with GPS in its antenna, and an insect with spring-loaded legs. As Fournier likes the idea of creating pictures that are not readily identifiable, remaining ambiguous, he did not want the transformations to be over-stated. For example, in the image of the rabbit only his left eye is replaced with an human eye. Leaving the viewer with a uncertainty whether these species are real or not, or even when and how they were made.
The main inspiration for Fournier has been the fact that at the beginning of this 21st century genetic modification has taken two new paths. On the one hand there is synthetic biology, which combines genetic engineering and, secondly, one can observe the growing use of reprogramming stem cells (although it’s still very controversial for instance in the USA) which leads to the production of new cells, new fabrics and new bodies. Living species from synthetic biology, integrating new DNA fragments and artificial elements (eg metal or electronics), have new properties to better adapt to new environments (and accompanying events as drought stress, disease, predators) due to climate change. These two predominantly uses of genetic modification inspired Fournier in the creation of his imagined amendments of the depicted animals.
Post Natural History will be exhibited at The Ravestijn Gallery until the 30th of June and it is also exhibited at the ACTE 2 Rive Gauche in Paris until the 1st of September.
The limited edition of the publication published by Be-Poles is available at Le Magasin.