Futuristic diorama

Ceramic, glass, wood, stone and copper, 2022

Dioramas of the 19th century were often built to present marvellous lifeforms that inhabited faraway lands – worlds admired and treasured, but often mystified and misunderstood. The glass vitrines established a distance between Nature and ‘us’.

This work centres around a ‘Lagocephalus sceleratus’, a poisonous puffer fish that has circulated throughout the Mediterranean Sea. This species is one of the so-called ‘Lessepsian migrants’ which originated from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea and used the Suez canal as a migration corridor. Nowadays, some of them are considered harmful to the Mediterranean ecosystem, so eradication plans are underway. The puffer fish is just one of many species that have migrated via manmade incursions into new habitats, only to be then casted as invasive and vilified.

But in this work, Nature seemingly erupts out from the shattered glass; not only revealing how animals become the unwitting protagonists of our human drama, but also showing the extent to which humans stage and separate themselves from Nature—through modes of containment, camouflage, or disguise—to farcical, if often tragic, effect.