The Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui belongs to the Institute of Critical Zoologists, whose mission is “to develop a critical approach to the zoological gaze, or how humans view animals”.
Its research involves “perspectives typically ignored by animal studies, such as aesthetics”.
For a recent project Zhao Renhui considered the increasingly ill-defined boundaries between the natural and the man-made.
“Why, for example, doesn’t the goldfish have a scientific name?” he asks. “Bred as pets for thousands of years, it is not included in any natural history encyclopaedia.”
So he created an alternative encyclopaedia in which a decorative aquarium fish can have right of place.
It includes animals and plants affected by aesthetic and genetic modification, ecological conservation, evolution and pollution.
The specimens here are the result of, or under consideration for, some form of scientific modification.
‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, by Robert Zhao Renhui, is published by The Institute of Critical Zoologists,Tokyo; criticalzoologists.org
Photographs: Robert Zhao Renhui
Article originally from https://www.ft.com/content/26f29188-a900-11e5-9700-2b669a5aeb83