Seeing Red.. Overdrawn

David Attenborough Building, Cambridge, 2016

The writing is on the wall. Yet the text is printed very faintly. One member of the public at a time is invited to make their mark by over-writing with indelible pen the name of one of the species, drawing attention to it, and bringing it to visibility.

This participatory artwork takes inspiration from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a large-scale text work depicts thousands of species considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction. Widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species, the Red List has become the world standard. To date, experts and citizen scientists across the globe have assessed more than 79,800 species with an ambition to assess 160,000 by 2020.

On October 22nd 2015, four thousand seven hundred and thirty-four species were listed on the IUCN Red List as being Critically Endangered. The data was extracted and each species name printed on a 7m wide canvas.

The IUCN Red List is updated at least once each year.

University of Cambridge, Cambridge Conservation Initiative, Museum of Zoology, Commission Projects, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge Science Festival logos