Collaborative installation, correspondences, flies, and taxonomy, with Donald Daedalus, 2009
'MI-LIEUS' is a collaborative multi-media project that reflects on the persistence of taxidermic principles in contemporary scientific denominations and on national cultures. Three blue bottle flies were collected, mailed from Morocco, Italy and US, preserved and indexed via corresponding stamps to their national, geo- graphic and ecological provenance. Iconic images of various national cultures blend with the organizing principles of zoological taxonomy, pointing to the isomorphic link between culture, nation, territory and life-form. The three flies installed in this piece belong to the same family within Linnaeus' classificatory system [Blue bottle fly or bottlebee: Species Calliphora vomitoria, linnaeus, 1758] and are found in most areas of the world. MI-LIEU problematizes the intersection of Natural history and Museum in the age of the territorial Nation-State and colonial expansions in the 19th century. Specifically concerning the nationalist/colonialist habit of classifying insects and the Cultural Other. Both Nationalist and Colonialist science rely on taxidermy as a political technology. The etymological association (Calliphora vomitoria) of this specific family of flies with corpses and vomit underscores the vitalist ontology, the logic of life and death, that underpins the rapport between colonial science and the Nation-Form. MI-LIEU 'resists' this vitalist ontology through its playful- ness with scale, thereby establishing a contrast between the monumentality and exceptionality of nationalist symbolism and zoological taxonomy and the miniature-like size of ordinary flies. Scale ultimately blurs the boundaries between the organic and the inorganic, between life and death, frustrating the political vocation of the Nation to give life to the forms that live on its territory.