The Lost Rhino: An Art Installation with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

A pink image of a rhino against a pink background. Text over the image reads 'An Art Installation with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, The Lost Rhino'

This exhibition has now ended.

Discover instead The Polar Silk Road, a photographic exploration of human impact in the Arctic. 

Come face-to-face with extinction.

The Lost Rhino is a free installation that explores extinction, conservation and technology. Focused around four depictions of a rhino, each of them imperfect in their own way, the installation examines our relationship with endangered species.

At its centre sits The Substitute, a video installation by artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg that brings visitors face-to-face with a digitally recreated, life-sized northern white rhino. With the subspecies nearly extinct, this piece explores the paradox of our preoccupation with creating new life forms, while neglecting existing ones. 

Displayed alongside Ginsberg's installation is a film of pulsating northern white rhino heart cells grown in the lab, Albrecht Dürer's iconic but inaccurate Rhinoceros woodcut print from 1515 and a rhino from the Museum's collection.

Please note that this installation includes a soundtrack with loud noises.

This exhibition was open from 16 December 2022 to 19 March 2023

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on The Lost Rhino

Discover the inspiration behind the art installation in the artist's essay on The Lost Rhino and gain a deeper understanding of it.

What is The Substitute?

The Substitute is a video installation of a digitally recreated, life-sized northern white rhino. Using data generated by artificial intelligence agency DeepMind, the rhino learns from its environment. Starting off pixelated and unaware of its surroundings, as it roams the empty, sterile space it begins to gain intelligence and become increasingly more life-like. With its behaviour, movements and sounds informed by rare research footage taken of the last herd, this hyper-realistic recreation makes us question whether this new lifeform created using technology can really be a substitute for the real thing.

Who is Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg?

We interviewed Daisy about her work as an artist, curating an exhibition, and her feelings on museums and archives.

  • About the artist

    Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg investigates the fraught relationship between humans and nature in our era of radical technological and scientific advancement. Ginsberg works across multiple mediums, from digital simulations to living gardens. Her work looks at subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, conservation, evolution, synthetic biology and the history of science as she questions our impulse to ‘better’ the world as we paradoxically destroy our environment.

    Ginsberg exhibits her work internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the National Museum of China in Beijing, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Royal Academy in London.

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