At a distance of forty-two days by Wellington-based artists Jenny Gillam and Eugene Hansen, in collaboration with Adrian McCleland, is the result of Gillam’s long-term research project with scientists from the Institute of Natural Resources at Massey University. Serving as both art and genomic science, this in-depth long-term project involves an investigation into a rogue colony of native New Zealand stick insects that became established in the Tresco Abbey Garden in the Isles of Scilly (off the southern coast of the UK) during the early twentieth century.
In 2014 Gillam and Hansen travelled to the Scilly Isles with entomologists Steve Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards to observe the insects; live specimens have subsequently been kept in a Physical Containment facility at Palmerston North and crossbred with New Zealand insects for the purposes of further scientific and artistic research. Here questions of evolutionary adaption meet the cultural significance of repatriation and the lingering historical implications of early globalisation. At a distance of forty-two days is a true art and science partnership, contributing new knowledge to both fields of enquiry.
Jenny Gillam would like to thank Steve Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards, Institute of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University; Paul Brock, Scientific Associate, Natural History Museum, London; Mike Nelhams, Tresco Abbey Garden Curator, Isles of Scilly, UK; Malcolm Lee, Britain’s national recorder of stick insects.