Center for PostNatural History
It’s possible that you’ve never heard of the term PostNatural. We hadn’t until we met Rich Pell. What we discovered upon learning about Rich’s work is that he is contributing something entirely unique and absolutely essential to the library of human knowledge.
The Center for PostNatural History (CPNH) is a public outreach center dedicated to the intersection of culture, nature and biotechnology. The PostNatural refers to the life forms that have been intentionally altered by humans through domestication, selective breeding and genetic engineering. Towards this end, the CPNH produces thematic multimedia exhibitions, printed works and maintains a collection of living, preserved and documented specimens of PostNatural origin. To read more please visit their site.
Rich Pell, is part scientist, part activist, part artist. He is the most subtle bad ass we’ve ever spoken to. He’s an activist at heart but is working in such brilliant and calculated ways, always just under the radar, never breaking any rules, knowing the laws of his field inside and out…all the while creating something brand new, something we’ve never seen before.
Below Pell takes us through a of a virtual journey of the Center for PostNatural History. Once he opens up the space in June we’ll be posting an update with some photos from the new Center.
Here is a video introduction into the world of PostNatural History:
A ‘Tour’ of The Center for PostNatural History – by Richard Pell
The CPNH is proud to announce the grand opening of its permanent home in June 2011. The space, located at 4913 Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh, PA, will house a variety of exhibits that explore the menagerie of living organisms that have been intentionally altered by humans since the dawn of agriculture up to present day. Visitors to the CPNH will enter the South Hall on Penn Ave and be greeted by an exhibition of feral postnatural plants of the region. These include Appalachian medicinal plants originally cultivated by local Indian tribes and early European settlers, which more recently have been branded as commercial pharmaceutical products. Also on exhibit will be several invasive plant species, which have been imported (both intentionally and unintentionally) from other parts of the world and are now opportunistically expanding their range here in Western Pennsylvania.
A narrow doorway from the South Hall leads the visitor into the main exhibit area. Low lighting and the sounds of traffic from the street outside give way to the gurgle aquaria and a collage of animal murmurings. A small room is filled with miniature dioramas depicting strange and familiar landscapes that play significant roles in the origins of postnatural life: a fish farm in Florida raises GloFish™, the only genetically engineered pet available in the U.S. Another presents a miniature weapons bunker field, home to goats who produce spider silk in their milk for the U.S. Military.
Through another narrow passage the visitor enters the specimen room, where dry and fluid preserved specimens of a wide variety of genetically engineered lifeforms are stored. Disease resistant chestnut trees,