De-Extinction Mermaids and the Future of an Interspecies Library

Detail image of a binder with a pocket encasing a book with the title, DNA SEQUENCE OF THE [indiscernible word]. There is a photograph on the left with organic textures that are also indiscernible.
Interspecies Futures [IF] 2021

Event Info

To close out the exhibition’s public programing, artist and researcher Richard Pell will present his enigmatic publication ‘Theory of Mermaid De-Extinction’ (2021) which makes its debut at Interspecies Futures. Curator, Oscar Salguero will present important moments in the history of interspecies-related books, and will discuss what the future of an Interspecies Library might look like. Salguero will identify the ways in which the library can act, both, as an archive and platform for the discussion of alternative shared reality with other species.

Note: Center for Book Arts will hold this event entirely online. A Zoom link will be sent in an email to all registrants.

About the Speakers

Richard Pell works at the intersections of science, engineering, and culture. He has worked in a variety of electronic media from documentary video to robotics to bioart to museum exhibition. He is the founder and director of the Center for PostNatural History (CPNH), an organization dedicated to the collection and exposition of life-forms that have been intentionally and heritably altered through domestication, selective breeding, tissue culture or genetic engineering. The CPNH operates a permanent museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and produces traveling exhibitions that have appeared in science and art museums throughout Europe and the United States, including being the subject of a major exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London. The CPNH has appeared in publications including National Geographic, Nature Magazine, American Scientist, Popular Science, New Scientist, The Guardian and Wired. The CPNH was awarded a Rockefeller New Media fellowship, a Creative Capital fellowship, a Smithsonian artist research fellowship, and major financial support support from Waag Society and the Kindle Project. Pell is also a co-founder of the internationally acclaimed art and engineering collective, the Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA). The IAA has exhibited works at the ZKM, Ars Electronica, Victoria & Albert Museum and Mass MoCA. Richard Pell is an Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2016 he was awarded the Pittsburgh Artist of the Year.

Oscar Salguero is a researcher, critical designer, and independent book curator based in Brooklyn, NY, where he runs The Antilibrary. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently, as part of non:agency’s The Age of Entanglements during Stockholm Design Week, 2020. The Antilibrary identifies unconventional trends and predicts future attitudes via the study of independent artist books. More than a library, it is an experiment in cultural pattern recognition and culture alteration. Some subjects of interest include: Trumpiana, post-fossil design, olfactive futures, AI-poetry, interspecies interactions, wetware, etc. The Antilibrary believes the book remains the most advanced information technology ever devised by humans.

About the Exhibition

Interspecies Futures [IF] is the first survey of bookworks by leading international practitioners from the contemporary fields of bio-art and speculative design who have turned to the codex as a tool for the proposal of alternative human-nonhuman scenarios.


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