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SUGAR HOLLOW

Statement for Thylacine Series














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http://oriondiamond.tripod.com/paintings_and_etching_2004/

The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Native to Australia and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (due to its striped back), the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or Tazzy) Tiger or simply the Tiger.[a] It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although a number of related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene. The Thylacine became extinct on the Australian mainland thousands of years before European settlement of the continent, but survived on the island of Tasmania along with a number of other endemic species, including the Tasmanian Devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite being officially classified as extinct, sightings are still reported. Like the tigers and wolves of the Northern Hemisphere, from which it inherited two of its common names, the Thylacine was an apex predator. As a marsupial, it was not related to these placental mammals, but due to convergent evolution it displayed the same general form and adaptations. Its closest living relative is the Tasmanian Devil. I first came across this creature reading some random newspaper and was breath taken with its strangeness. It was also kind of a lark because of the popularity of sea horses; I thought it kind of a funny icon in response. However, the film of the last of these beasts, a black and white movie from early days of filmmaking made the Thylacine ghostly and interesting. Practically because of the window, the beginning of film and the animal at extinction at the end of muck ranker age. The tiger is made of many elements, snake like jaw (bones detached), the size of coyote, pouch for the young, and kangaroo hindquarters. This was a beast so clearly mythical in nature, now in the film caged and the last of its kind. Seeing this documentation brought such visceral feeling of ghost and extinction. So I began to make filmstrips of these images with winter green oil. And at the same time investigating the subject. I found that Thylacine is mythical also in its folklore as well. In fact it is like Bigfoot or the Lock ness monster in that it is classified as non-existent, however there are "sightings." The best of which is a 1970's film of the tiger running across the frame of someone's home movie. And there is a million dollar reward for anyone who can capture and prove the creature is still on earth. And there are many sights on the subject on the web. Some real and some non-real. Begging questions of reality and fact themselves in investigation. Who to believe. Then the remarkable twist, the Australian government's involvement. In the whirlwind of the dolly the sheep cloning project, the Australian government began to under take the idea of cloning the extinct creature. Trying to recover a DNA strand from a young specimen that was collected in the 1890's. Interesting from many angles. The first, cloning as a means of recovering from extinction. Even if you are against cloning, I think this bends the morality. Whether to a sympathetic point of view or into Frankenstein monstrosity. For me it begs question of soul, and removes the voodoo strangely enough of clone beings. Two, that a government would even fund such a project. Three, the correlating story of stem cell research going on at the same time is this area of new science. Image, morality, and myth grip me as I continue to work in this series.