When I initially met curator Cornelia Lauf, she shared her visionary project centered on the world-famous fresco from the Villa of Livia, now housed in the Museo Nazionale Romano. She invited me to join this project, which involves eminent botanists, scholars, and artists, and to hold a lecture for her students at John Cabot University about my work.
The fresco from the Villa di Livia served as the genesis of my PLANT research, deeply inspiring me —a truly sublime work of art. While nature had always been present on my artistic research, it was at that moment that I delved into endangered flora, threats to biodiversity, and the intricate balances of nature.
I am currently engaged in artistically recreating endangered species and documenting them on the blockchain as a symbolic archive of what we risk losing. After over a year of research, I believe it's time to return to the Garden of Livia and cultivate a vast garden featuring endangered plants from across the globe. As Cornelia Lauf states, ‘Plants know no borders,’ and akin to the fresco's garden, mine will host species from Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
I am continuously working on this endeavor employing AI and physical painting to recreate additional endangered species. I used a pretrained model on a generic dataset and fine-tuned it using my datasets to capture both my painting style and specific plants unknown to the model.
The blockchain's protocol, which safeguards against destruction, manipulation, and the passage of time, provides the ideal platform to register this ongoing archive. The plants already registered can be viewed at https://ninfa.io/@deborahirsch.
This project also explores the crucial role birds play in the survival of plant species and biodiversity. Caged birds, a novel inclusion in Roman domestic culture at the time, are surprisingly depicted in the fresco of the garden of Livia. The caged bird evoked emotional and cognitive responses by engaging intriguing human analogies. In my artworks PLANT, the birds symbolically allude to the complex and delicate equilibrium of nature.
The research on endangered species has prompted me to investigate deeper into the primary causes of extinction, which will be part of a documentary I am starting to work on in collaboration with other professionals.
For further insights into the PLANT project and updates on my research, please visit https://www.deborahirschstudio.com/contemporaryplant.