eidolons - Animation 17.30mins
eidolons is a new art work highlighting the loss of local Biodiversity since the inauguration of the Irish Republic, 100 years ago this year. Technically a species is only considered Regionally Extinct if it has not been documented in the past 100 years. Since the founding of the Irish Free State, the island of Ireland has officially lost 26 insect species.
Insects are the main contributors to Biodiversity globally. They are ecologically crucial, and play a vital role in food production, plant pollination, the regulation of soil and water quality, natural pest control and the provision of medical compounds. They make up a large proportion of Ireland’s biodiversity and are essential to the ecosystem functioning. In spite of this, they are an under-studied and under-appreciated component of our wildlife. 26 species amounts to approximately 2% of the species examined in Ireland. Bear in mind however that only about 8% of the Irish insect species have been assessed and there is no definitive data available for the remaining 92%. The 26 species lost include: 8 species of water beetles, 14 species of macro-moths, of the butterflies, a single species (the mountain ringlet) is now considered regionally extinct, and of the bees, 2 species are now considered regionally extinct in Ireland.
This artwork was produced using a free AI animation software tool. Due to basic technology of this tool, these drawings are not completely anatomically correct. As species are continuously lost to us through climate collapse and habitat loss, the issue we face as a State is that future generations will have nothing to compare these drawings to and as such will be lost from the collective imagination forever.
As recent events in Ukraine have highlighted, Europe, including Ireland, is both reliant upon, and complicit in an ongoing global energy crisis. In response to this this project was produced using renewable energy from a green energy provider and is presented on a low- energy monitor powered by renewable energy, delivered through solar power. This process allows for the art work to be produced and presented as a low carbon impact project. At a time of global energy insecurity this component of the work highlights an important dilemma for our future generations.
This project has been developed with the help of, Daniel Alvarez Carreno, Aness Al-Qawlaq and Abdulaziz Alharmoodi of UCD Elecsoc (Electrical and Electronic Engineering Society) and William Davis of the UCD Innovation Academy. A special thanks to William Fitzmaurice, of the UCD Earth Institute and Dr. Aidan O’Hanlon, Head Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum, the LAB and DLRCoCo Arts Office and the Arts Council of Ireland for their support.
Due to the unpredictability of Irish weather, archival prints of individual species, printed on bamboo paper, are presented alongside the animation to insure visitors can view the work even if the power banks can not be recharged for a period of time.