Resurrecting the Sublime

Christina Agapakis (US)/Ginkgo Bioworks, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (UK), Sissel Tolaas (NO)

OÖ Kulturquartier
Artificial Intelligence & Life Art




The Hibiscadelphus wilderianus was once indigenous to the southern slopes of Mount Haleakalā in Maui, Hawaii, before colonial cattle ranching destroyed the plant’s habitat. Resurrecting the Sublime reconstructs the smell of this hibiscus which was last seen in 1912, along with two other extinct species, the Orbexilum stipulatum, and the ‘Leucadendron grandiflorum (Salisb.) R. Br.’

Researchers extracted DNA sequences from historic specimens of the plants to predict the odor molecules they may have produced. The smells are then reconstructed and diffused in immersive installations, allowing visitors to experience flowers that no longer exist. This olfactory project questions our relationship to nature and the choices we make as a species.


Projekt Credits:

  • with support from IFF Inc.