Codex Exophora

Solo exhibition – Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, London

Codex Exophora is formed around the Voynich manuscript, a document written in the 15th century that uses a code that no academic, linguist or cryptographer has been able to decipher up until the present day. The manuscript contains sections regarding the study of botanical, astrological, biological, cosmological, pharmaceutical phenomena and illustrates 113 plants and biological forms that don't exist or relate to other families of plants that we know of. It is this codex that the exhibition embodies through a speculative future narrative around technologically and cryptographically driven post-natural mutations.

The manuscript shares aesthetic qualities with the outputs of neural networks and machine learning algorithms, as much that they both resemble something that we recognise, yet it is slightly too distant from reality to appear normal. A perfect example of this would be the ‘puppy slugs’ created by Google’s deep dream or the current confusion created by ‘Real Fakes’. This bleed between the the fictive and the real creates a Voynichian morphogenesis for a post-natural world of new biology created by technology. The exhibition uses this generative trait as a basis for a speculative post-nature incubator and uses neural network autopoiesis to generate a garbled code from datasets using contemporary philosophy and theory around ideas of the post-natural.