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Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: An Environmental History of Rye, 2021

The understanding of nature as dualistically opposed to culture or humanity is part and parcel of the Western philosophical tradition, traceable at least to the Enlightenment and the writings of the French philosopher Rene Descartes. The emergence of public museums throughout the nineteenth century was vital in ratifying this distinction through material collections and exhibitions.

Subverting traditional museology, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral examines the standard approaches to classification of non-human nature, the neat categories of which have been challenged with the advancements of technologies such as microscopy.

Part research, part collection, this installation brings together the outcomes of environmental sampling conducted at three ‘Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)’ using open-source equipment and software, as well as by community collection. With the age of the objects exhibited here ranging from 0 to 5,000 years, every aspect of the collection demonstrates the intimate relationship between people and their environment. ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’ is ‘an’, not ‘the’ environmental history of Rye - a temporary and inconclusive collection shaped by the town’s community.

Install photographs by James Harris.

+ Artlyst
+ Hastings Independent
+ Rye News

“The installation felt genuinely inclusive and diverse and educational... It helps to have exhibits that have a lot of value, art that has a lot to offer.”

- Jude Cowan Montague, Artlyst

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