Jakob Kudsk Steensen
2018-2019 – 2D video
Duration 14 minutes and 16 seconds
RE-ANIMATED is based on the last Kaua’i ʻō’ō bird, which died in 1987, marking the extinction of the species. In 2009, its mating call – first recorded in 1975 and later digitised in an ornithology lab in New York – was uploaded to YouTube. Since then, the song of the Kaua’i ʻō’ō calling in vain to a mate who was no longer there has been played more than half a million times.
RE-ANIMATED is a response to this mating call. It is a magnificent reanimation of the bird and its song, and a meditation on our paradoxical techno-scientific trajectory. The video takes us into a distorted digital reconstruction of the Kaua’i ʻō’ō ’s original habitat on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. As a digital gardener, the artist collected through algorithms a myriad of animals and plants which he programmed to colonise the island. The virtual landscape is a magic ecosystem filled with water, light, plants, birds, fish, and insects, and a biotechnological laboratory for a resurrected, monstrously-sized bird. Jacob Kudsk Steensen’s virtual island also echoes computer simulation models that climate scientists use to predict future climate scenarios for life on earth.
Jakob Kudsk Steensen― Artist
Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Denmark/United States) is an artist working with environmental storytelling through 3d animation, sound and immersive installations. He creates poetic interpretations about overlooked natural phenomena through collaborations with field biologists, composers and writers. Projects are based on extensive fieldwork of several months duration. Kudsk Steensen was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2019. As part of the awards program, he was invited to create and exhibit new installations of RE-ANIMATED (2017-18) in Kieve and Venice. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation, the Lumen Arts Prize, The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, Games for Change, the Lumiere Foundation, The Telly Awards, and Cinequest Festival.