De-extinction – Amor

De-extinction – Amor


Media: charcoal and ink on paper

Unframed dimensions: A2 landscape (420 x 594 mm)



Thylacinus Resurrection


The Thylacine’s existence is a remarkable one.  It no longer sits within the physical realm, yet its image exists in every form of media and memory.  It was a strange and rare animal that still conjures mystery, the obsessives, and repeat ‘sightings’ to rival Bigfoot.  Unlike Bigfoot, however, the thylacine once had a tangible existence, only to become yet another victim of colonial extermination. But there are now claims it can be revived.

Bringing back the Tasmanian Tiger has been discussed in the scientific community for decades now, never eventuating to anything.  But a recent private contender has emerged.  A self-proclaimed “de-extinction company”, Colossal™, promises to “except the challenge” [1] and revive long-extinct species, including the thylacine.  A huge promise, that others, mostly from the non-commercial scientific community, consider dubious.  Some, like Dr Steven Cooper of the South Australian Museum, going as far as to call it science fiction, given the available genetic samples are too degraded for purpose.[2]

The contention of the de-extinction claim is captured through the contradictory disintegration/re-formation of the animal.  Dually, it marks extinction, transitioning from the last of its species into oblivion; and convergence, the particulates of the animal coming together, in the act of de-extinction.  Thylacinus Resurrectio hovers in space, delicate and fragile above Hobart’s waterline – its colonial and contemporary buildings comprise what would be its new and highly unsuited habitat, if reintroduced.  Rendered in ink, it is harsh against the soft charcoal of the thylacine’s ephemeral form, speaking to its colonial extermination and contemporary unsuitability.

Today, the thylacine’s existence has become a complex dichotomy of myth and symbol: the myth or spectacle of species revival, and one of the harshest symbols of anthropogenic extinction in natural history.  Revival is not peer-supported, and so mythologises the notion of a newly resurrected thylacine, becoming a fiction of science.

© Erin Amor 2023




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