And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
- Genesis Chapter 9, Verse 1-2

Deep in the Texan swamps, a new species of parasitic wasp is discovered by the T-SEE expedition who are funded by the crumbling Richards-Jones Institution and buried in its extensive collection of insect specimens.

Years later, Global Petroleum, the nation's largest petroleum company working in the Gulf of Mexico suffers from blockages in its pipeline network. To their horror, Global Petroleum scientists discover that a new species of parasitic wasp is incubating its eggs in the petrochemicals the company manufactures and distributes.

It becomes clear that the wasp discovered by T-SEE has evolved rapidly to develop a parasitic relationship with synthetic chemicals.

Into Your Hands Are They Delivered is a fable presented as a series of images and documents re-framing the short story that forms the core of the project.

The project takes its name from chapter 9 of the book of Genesis where God resigns himself from interfering in the affairs of man and grants dominion over all life on Earth. This assumed relationship with nature has permeated society in everything from natural philosophy through to advertising. The idea that man is somehow separate, above or outside nature and that human activity is unnatural and further, the idea that nature can be used as some sort of moralistic compass where 'natural' is synonymous with 'good' and 'unnatural' with 'evil' is deeply ingrained in contemporary culture and forms the centre of the debate around synthetic biology.

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars
- Charles Darwin to Asa Gray

Into Your Hands Are They Delivered aims to challenge this narrative consensus, to demonstrate how the ideas of nature and unnature, good and evil, faith and science are constructs of cultural heritage and invite audiences to question why they exist and what they mean. Using the parasitic wasp - an already contentious creature in natural philosophy - as a wild card in an all-to-familiar allegorical world, the project invites the audience to play with the fable presented and reconstruct their own rules and interpretations of humanity's position in relationship to the 'nature' we believe ourselves to be alternately caretakers and abusers of.

Commissioned as part of Royal College of Art's Studiolab program Blueprints for the Unknown.
Photographs: Ferry Gouw
With thanks to: David Benque, RCA Design Interactions, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Superflux, Dr. Gavin Broad

03.2015 – Hypervital, St. Etienne Biennale, France
10.2014 – Future Fictions, Z33, Hasselt
05.2014 – Blueprints For The Unknown, V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Rotterdam
10.2013 - 01.2014 – Grow Your Own, Science Gallery, Dublin
07.2013 - 07.2014 – Projekt Genesis, Ars Electronica, Linz

07.2013 – VICE: Creators Project

Last updated: 05.2020