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A Guide to The Flora and Fauna of The World


A Guide to The Flora and Fauna of The World
Robert Zhao Renhui
Institute of Critical Zoologists


55 plates with documents and booklets contained in a hand crafted archival box
340×240 mm
ISBN: Not available


The first edition of A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World was first published in 1973.
It serves as a medium for original studies based principally upon the collections in the Museum and the research of the Institute.

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World seeks to document and reflect on the myriad ways in which human action and intervention are slowly altering the natural world. Based on the evolutionary premise that all living things constantly change and adapt to cope with and respond to their changing environments (or risk extinction), The Guide presents a catalogue of curious creatures and life-forms that have evolved in often unexpected ways to cope with the stresses and pressures of a changed world. Other organisms documented in the project are the results of human intervention, mutations engineered to serve various interests and purposes ranging from scientific research to the desire for ornamentation. Several specimens in this installation are based on fact; others are works of fiction and scientific hypothesis.


The line between these two is often an indistinct one, as scientific advances within the last half-century have made possible what was previously believed to be impossible. While drawing on the encyclopaedic tradition, which is premised on the basic human desire to catalogue and to order knowledge so as to better understand – and command – the world, The Guide also questions the limits of these systems of collating, ordering and disseminating knowledge, by blurring the lines between fact and fiction, and oscillating between the modalities of science and art, thereby inviting us to consider the roles of these disciplines in our apprehension and understanding of the world.

Robert Zhao Renhui is a Singapore based artist, born in 1983. Renhui’s work is based on the concept of doubt and uncertainty. He tests to the limit the principles behind the dissemination of knowledge and acceptance of truths.

The Institute for Critical Zoologists aims to develop a critical approach to the zoological gaze, or how humans view animals. It seeks to develop a Critical Zoological Gaze that pursues creative, interdisciplinary research that includes perspectives typically ignored by animal studies, such as aesthetics; and to advance unconventional, even radical, means of understanding human and animal relations. The institute also discourages anthropomorphism in the appreciation and understanding of zoology