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Inanimate Species

An installation by Joana Moll


Artist Joana Moll has designed an installation that explores the possible correlation between the ubiquity of microprocessors, the huge increase in their computing power and the rapidly increasing loss of biodiversity.

In 1971 a group of engineers designed the very first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004. This would prove to be a decisive moment in recent history: it was now possible to transfer intelligence to an inanimate object, which ushered in a new era of technological development and heralded a new technocapitalist way of imagining the world. 

Curiously, while humanity was embarking upon a headlong rush to perfect and boost the power of this new artificial intelligence, the planet’s wildlife started to go extinct at a startling rate. According to a 2014 WWF study, since 1970 humanity has exterminated 50% of the world’s species. There appears to be a correlation between the ubiquity of microprocessors, the huge increase in their computing power and the sharp uptick in extinctions. By way of illustration, this installation links the exponential growth of microprocessors and the dizzying drop in both the number and diversity of species, above all insects, which play a vital role in our ecological infrastructure and which are vanishing at alarming rates, with some reports suggesting that a quarter of all insects could be eliminated in the space of a decade.

The installation Inanimate Species aims to stress the subtle but relentless substitution of the natural order by technological advances, and reflects not only on the cannibalisation of ecologies, but also on the problem of visibly representing climate change. In short, Inanimate Species seeks to expose the ties between technocapitalism, accelerating climate change and the decline in essential ecosystems.


This project received funding from a 2020 Leonardo Grant for Researchers and Cultural Creators from the BBVA Foundation.

Participants: Joana Moll

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