Taxonomic Trophies

november 13th, 2006

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Taxonomic Trophies, 2005/2006

Maarten Vanden Eynde Trophies

In hunting, trophies can be awarded as part of a competition, although a class of trophies specific to hunting also exists. These trophies are obtained from the bodies of game animals. Often the heads or entire bodies are processed by a taxidermist, although sometimes other body parts such as teeth or horns are used as trophies. Hunting for the singular purpose of obtaining trophies is often considered improper today. Such trophies have also been produced from humans in cultures that accept cannibalism or when two societies clash in war.
Commencing in the 1970s and 1980s in the United Kingdom, USA and some other western countries, a pejorative association began to be assumed regarding the process of hunting for trophies. By the year 2000 there is widespread consensus in animal welfare organizations and in segments of the population as a whole that trophy hunting is to be discouraged. Many of the 189 countries signtory to the 1992 Rio Accord have developed Biodiversity Action Plans that discourage the hunting of protected species.
A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is an internationally recognized programme addressing threatened species and habitats, which is designed to protect and restore biological systems. The original impetus for these plans derives from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As of 2006, 188 countries have ratified the CBD, but only a fraction of these have developed substantive BAP documents.
The principal elements of a BAP include:
1. preparing inventories of biological information for selected species or habitats;
2. assessing the conservation status of species within specified ecosystems;
3. creation of targets for conservation and restoration.

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Taxonomic Trophies; Death Valley, USA 2006

Maarten Vanden Eynde Death Valley


Taxonomic species = Taxonomic species are morphologically and otherwise classified groups of organisms that taxonomists determine to belong to a specific group (Gaston 1996). This is a more traditional definition of “species”.

Trophic species = Trophic species are functional groups that contain organisms that appear to eat and be eaten by the exact same species within a food web (Cohen and Briand 1984). In other words, one or more species that eat entirely the same set of prey and are eaten by an entirely identical set of predators are considered one single trophic species.

A trophic species and a taxonomic species are identical when the trophic species contains only one taxon.

Taxonomy (from Greek verb τασσεῖν or tassein = “to classify” and νόμος or nomos = law, science, cf “economy”) was once only the science of classifying living organisms (alpha taxonomy), but later the word was applied in a wider sense, and may also refer to either a classification of things, or the principles underlying the classification. Almost anything, animate objects, inanimate objects, places, and events, may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme.

Me(n)tal Tree

oktober 21st, 2006

Roxy Paine

Bluff, 2002


Bluff was sited just east of the Sheep Meadow along The Mall (mid-park at 67th Street) at Central Park New York.
It is a fifty-foot high tree made of brilliantly reflective stainless steel. Bluff’s heavy industrial plates formed a two-foot-wide trunk that supported more than 5000 pounds of cantilevered branches, welded together from 24 different diameters of steel pipes and rods. Its gleaming frame remained unchanged as its environment shifted from winter into spring. By announcing its grand manmade artifice rather than attempting to blend in with the surrounding real plants and trees, Bluff was a cunning reminder that Central Park is itself an artificial sanctuary, a product of city planners as much as Mother Nature.

LA tree, 2005


‘Life is found in animals and plants; but while in animals it is clearly manifest, in plants it is hidden and not evident. For before we can assert the presence of life in plants, a long inquiry must be held as to whether plants possess a soul and a distinguishing capacity for pleasure and pain.’ -Aristotle, On Plants.

The Three Body Problem

februari 19th, 2006

The Three Body Problem is the mathematical problem of finding the positions and velocities of three massive bodies, which are interacting each other gravitationally, at any point in the future or the past, given their present positions, masses, and velocities. An example would be to completely solve the behavior of the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn system, or that of three mutually orbiting stars. It is a vastly more difficult exercise than the two-body problem. In fact, as Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) and others showed, the three-body problem is impossible to solve in the general case; that is, given three bodies in a random configuration, the resulting motion nearly always turns out to be chaotic: no one can predict precisely what paths those bodies would follow.

Watch here: The Tree Body Problem animation

Genetologic Research Nr. 6, 2003 (300cm x 300cm x 300cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.6

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.6b

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Three wooden (oak) beams are manually bended by fire and water during a three week lasting ‘torture-session’. After being liberated from the bending-machine, the beams stay in their forced position. The thee bodies are photographed in a certain way, but can change position without loosing their inter-relating balance. Various positions have been tried and just a few points of view bring them into a harmonious equilibrium. Any change or random elaboration creates chaos or disharmony.

Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule

januari 7th, 2006

Agnes Denes

A Huge man-made mountain measuring 240m long, 270m wide, 28m high and elliptical in shape was planted with 10.000 trees by 10.000 people from all over the world at Pinziö gravel pits near Ylöjärvi, Finland, as part of a massive earthwork and land reclamation project. The project was officialy announced by the Finish government at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Earth Environment Day.<5 June 1992> as Finlands contribution to help alleviate the world’s ecological stress. Sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Program and the Finnish Ministry of Environment, Tree Mountain is protected land to be maintained for four centuries, eventualy creating a real (virgin) forest. The trees are planted in an intricate mathematical pattern derived from a combination of the golden section and pineapple/sunflower patterns. Tree Mountain is the largest monument on earth that is international in scope, unparalleled in duration, and not dedicated to the human ego, but to benefit future generations with a meaningful legacy. Tree mountain, conceived in 1982, affirms humanity’s commitment to the future as well as to the ecological, social and cultural life on the planet. It is designed to unite the human intellect with the majesty of nature.


tree mountain

The Lightning Field

januari 5th, 2006

Walter De Maria

The Lightning Field, 1977, by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of southwestern New Mexico. It is comprised of 400 polished stainless steel poles installed in a grid array measuring one mile by one kilometer. The poles-two inches in diameter and averaging 20 feet and 7½ inches in height-are spaced 220 feet apart and have solid pointed tips that define a horizontal plane. Only after a lightning strike has advanced to an area of about 61 m above the The Lightning Fielf can it sense the poles. The experience of the work directly in nature, the effect of the changing light, the shifting space, heat and the sense of waiting for a specific event (the lightning) heightens the viewer’s sense of scale and time.

Lightning Field

Genetologic Research Nr. 5bis, 2003 (100cm x 100cm x 450cm) 1km long

Maarten Vanden Eynde Dakpark

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Bospolder Tussen Dijken, 2003, by the Belgian sculptor Maarten Vanden Eynde, is a work of Land Art in a remote area of Bospolder Tussendijken, near Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It is comprised of 34 wooden beams installed in plastic tubs and covered with earth. Each pole is 450 cm in length and weighs, together with the tub, about 500 kilo. The whole work stretches out over 1 km. The wood is bended, twisted and stretched because of the weather conditions and the changing of seasons.


Joseph Beuys

Beuys’ planting of 7000 oak trees troughout the city of Kassel for Documenta7 embodied a wide concept of ecology which grows with time. 7000 trees were planted next to a basalt stone marker. Beuys stated that the project is a ‘movement of the human capacity towards a new concept of art, in symbolic communication with nature.’ The first tree was planted in 1982; the last tree was planted eighteen months after Beuys’ death at the opening of Documenta8 in 1987 by his son Wenzel Beuys.

‘I believe that planting these oaks is necessary not only in biospheric terms, that is to say, in the context of matter and ecology, but in that it will raise ecological consciousness-raise it increasingly, in the course of the years to come, because we shall never stop planting.’

‘I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heartwood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet.’

-Joseph Beuys, quoted by Johannes Stuttgen, 1982

7000 oaks



Growth Rings of Wooden Beams

november 23rd, 2005

Giuseppe Penone

Among the central members of the Arte Povera group, Penone was perhaps the one most drawn to organic materials. In a series of sculptures begun in 1969, for instance, the artist chiseled through the growth rings of wooden beams to excavate tender saplings from within.

(11-Meter Tree), 1989


Penone made this work using a chainsaw and chisel to cut back the layers of growth from a single timber beam. He worked carefully around the knots to reveal the internal structure of narrow core and developing branches. The form of a young tree is exposed, while part of the beam is left untouched to signify its status as a manmade object. By returning the tree to an earlier stage of its growth, Penone reverses the effects of time.

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Since 2000 Vanden Eynde is working with trees and the remnants of them: wooden beams and sticks. In various attempt to reassemble a tree he used the ever present year rings as natural reference and starting point for his attempts.

Pre-Genetologic Research, 2000 (100cm x 100cm x 450cm) one piece

Maarten Vanden Eynde eschatology nr 2

Pre-Genetologic Research: Stam-Boom, 2001 (100cm x 350cm 100cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde stam boom

Genetolocic Research Nr. 2&4, 2003 (30cm x 50cm x 180cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.2&4

Genetolocic Research Nr. 23, 2005 (50cm x 50cm x 5cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.23

With Genetologic Research Nr. 9 Vanden Eynde made the opposite movement by creating a beam from a branch. The wood fibres of the heavy oakwooden branch are followed creating an organic and impossible curved beam. The work was part of a series where wood was being tortured and transformed by machines. The metal boxes on both sides are the only reminders of human interference.

Genetologic Research Nr. 9, 2004 (50cm x 50cm x 250cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.9