Rearming the Spineless Opuntia
The sculpture Rearming the Spineless Opuntia is a machine designed to protect a spineless cactus. The Spineless Opuntia is an actual, living cactus that has been altered by humans so that it lacks its spines. It is, therefore, easier to eat and to feed to cattle than its relative, commonly known as the Prickly Pear cactus. Because humans find it to be an economically valuable plant, we will cultivate it and protect it, however, I began to imagine what might happen if humans abandoned the Spineless Opuntia and it were left to fend for itself. The machine I built for it is an armor that will close when people approach and open up again when people move away from it. It is a prototype for possible future ways to engineer technological remedies for ecological problems we are responsible for. A way to technologically protect other living things from ourselves.
This installation of digitally manipulated photographs is a visual exploration into the idea that humans could be cultivated in the same manner in which we cultivate plants and animals - to suit our own needs. What makes humans “valuable” are our brains, so this is the “natural resource” that is being selectively cultivated in these images. Micropropagation is the science and practice of rapidly growing, multiplying and manipulating plant tissues in Petri dishes, but in my installation, I speculate upon how that practice might be applied to humans.
is getting a new name because this version is a bit different than the older project. This one will be called, Cute Parasite.
are monstrous and delightful parasites, horticultural ornaments and life-support systems. Fluorescent cacti are mutants that lack chlorophyll and cannot feed themselves. They are rely upon other cacti for their food and they also must depend upon humans to physically graft them onto the other cacti. We play a key role in the survival of this cute mutant parasite.
Amy M. Youngs
creates mixed-media, interactive sculptures and digital media works, that explore the complex relationship between technology and our changing concept of nature and self. She has exhibited her works nationally and internationally at venues such as Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH), Pace Digital Gallery (New York, NY), the Biennale of Electronic Arts (Perth, Australia), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), Circulo de Bellas Artes (Madrid, Spain), the Visual Arts Museum (New York, NY) the Art Institute of Chicago’s Betty Rymer Gallery, Vedanta Gallery, (Chicago, IL), the San Francisco Public Library, Blasthaus, (San Francisco, CA) and Works (San Jose, CA). Her artwork has been reviewed in publications such as, The Chicago Sun Times, RealTime and Artweek and has been included in the recent book,
Art in Action, nature, creativity & our collective future
Youngs has published several essays, including one on genetic art in the journal Leonardo and another on art, technology and ecology in the international art publication Nouvel Objet in 2001. She has lectured on her work widely, including at the California State University, Long Beach, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston, Massachusetts), the Australian Center For the Moving Image (Melbourne, Australia) and the Perth Institute for Contemporary Art (Perth, Australia) and has participated in panels at the College Arts Association, the Walker Art Center and the Biennale for Electronic Arts in Australia. Youngs was an Artist-in-Residence at the Pilchuck Glass School in 2005 and was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 2001. She received a BA from San Francisco State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Art Student Honoree of her class. She was awarded a full Merit Scholarship to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she completed her MFA in 1999. Youngs currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University. She was born in 1968 in Chico, California.