A curious mix of advanced computer-generated artificial life form in a pre-historic looking body, Classiﬁcation Pending asks audiences to think about the links or boundaries between myth, evolution, and genetic engineering. At a time when ecological issues are at the forefront of public debate and the rise of sustainable art brings such issues into galleries and public art projects internationally, Classiﬁcation Pending encourages the audience to reﬂect on the extinction of species and environmental degradation. Intriguingly, however, the work brings to mind an interesting point through its projection of the previously unseen hybrid river creature—although species are becoming more and more rapidly extinct, at the same time new examples of ﬂora and fauna are discovered.
Unlike many public art projects that, although visually stunning and engaged with important issues, lose their novelty over time and become overlooked, Classiﬁcation Pending holds interest through continuous evolution. The installation presents new possibilities for how permanent and evolving public art installations can be integrated into environments and provide long-term engagement. The work also prompts an examination of how technology can stimulate audiences to learn about and interact with nature, and if technology can replace or substitute an authentic experience. Classiﬁcation Pending exists not as an isolated element, but through technology in creative dialogue with the existing and historic flora and fauna of the Bremer River site. This allows the installation to express and reflect a bigger, evolving story of place, a truly site-specific response.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.