Alexandra Daisy GinsbergPollinator Pathmaker
20 June 2023
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
LAS is proud to be the first International Edition Founding Commissioner of Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s Pollinator Pathmaker.
At the heart of Pollinator Pathmaker is a growing network of Edition Gardens, custom-designed for the needs of local pollinating insects. Bringing this groundbreaking project to Berlin, LAS will plant the first Edition Garden outside the United Kingdom. The LAS Edition will be accessible as a public installation from summer 2023 onwards.
A living artwork, Pollinator Pathmaker serves the natural world, rather than taking it as subject matter. The project asks humans to experience gardens from the viewpoint of at-risk pollinators, and to partake in their protection. Each garden is based on planting schemes created by an algorithmic tool developed by the artist. The tool selects from Palettes that contain locally appropriate plants chosen for their benefits to pollinators. Drawing on the expertise of specialists (in this case from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, every Plant Palette is uniquely optimised for the needs of its region’s pollinators. Pollinator Pathmaker’s first Edition Garden opened in May 2022 at the Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
‘I wanted to make art for pollinators, not about them. Pollinator Pathmaker is an ambitious art-led campaign to make living artworks for other species to enjoy. Can the audience for an artwork be more-than-human? Can art be useful in the ecological crisis?’
– Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Pollinator Pathmaker responds to the dramatic decline in pollinating insects. This collapse has been precipitated by habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species and climate change. While the plight of honeybees is widely publicised, over 550 bee species exist in Germany alone. Working alongside flies, beetles, wasps, moths and butterflies, bees pollinate our food crops, ecosystems, and gardens. Each insect perceives the world differently, a fact that produces extraordinary diversity in plant life. For example, different insects can see different parts of the colour spectrum, invisible to humans. Flowers have alluring markings on them that we can’t see. One flower may attract bees, while its neighbour may attract butterflies.
Pollinator Pathmaker’s website offers a free-to-use tool for everyone to create their own pollinator-friendly artwork to plant at home, and in community spaces and schools with completion of a short application form. Visitors to pollinator.art can use the custom algorithm to generate their own unique planting scheme for bees and other pollinators. Each scheme is computed to support the maximum pollinator species possible. Users can see a 3D visualisation of their garden, created from paintings by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.
Through collaboration with a growing global network of institutions, the artist aims to make Pollinator Pathmaker the world’s largest climate-positive artwork. By joining in the campaign, the commissioning institution takes on the responsibility to create a regional Plant Palette advised by local experts, and to translate the Pollinator Pathmaker website into the region’s language. LAS has supported the creation of a Plant Palette for Europe’s Continental Region available for the algorithmic tool on the Pollinator Pathmaker website. Residents of Germany and beyond can use it to create their own pollinator-supporting gardens that will thrive in the region’s hot summers and cold winters.
The opening of the LAS Edition in summer 2023 is accompanied by a DIY campaign. Enabling local communities, schools, and individuals across Germany to plant their own version of the artwork, LAS invites the public to play a central role in the rehabilitation of pollinating insects through culture. Both the LAS Edition and the DIY campaign are supported by an educational programme, conceived by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. This interdisciplinary initiative promotes citizen participation in biodiversity science. By addressing diverse audiences, the LAS Edition will foster lifelong learning about the needs of local pollinators, their role within our shared ecosystem and what we human beings can do to help.
Originally commissioned by the Eden Project, funded by Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional partners Gaia Art Foundation and collaborators Google Arts & Culture.