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Retro: The Culture of Extinction
Jamais Cascio, 27 Aug 05

We are undergoing the Sixth Extinction, a wave of species death that has few comparisons across the breadth of Earth's history. As we become more aware of our impact and our responsibilities, a growing number of us attempt to tread lightly; nonetheless, more creatures will go extinct. In The Culture of Extinction, Alex makes a powerful and moving suggestion: the creation of a living archive of the dead:

So, here's my modest proposal: I propose that we start wearing the dead on our skin.

Images exist of a great many extinct species, and I expect the proportion of well-documented extinctions to increase in the next couple decades. I propose that we assemble and maintain a database of names, pictures and information on species which have gone or are clearly soon to go extinct. I propose we make it possible for people to "adopt" a dead species, on one condition.

That condition? That you have an image of that species tattooed on your body in a visible place, with the Linnaean name underneath.

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I have a better suggestion - make absense of the species painfully felt. For that purpose the participant has to write the extinct animal's name and other data on a piece of paper and insert it into his/her anus.

Posted by: sukeroki on 29 Aug 05



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