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Into Your Hands They Are Delivered

Into Your Hands They Are Delivered is a work by Tobias Revell. It was shown in the exhibition Blueprints for the Unknown (2014).

Deep in the Texan swamps a new species of parasitic wasp with biochemistry tied closely to crude oil is discovered. Years later it appears to have evolved and spread, infecting the pipelines of the major oil companies in the area, wreaking havoc on the scientific, industrial, political and philosophical status quo. 

Into Your Hands Are They Delivered takes its name from chapter 9 of the book of Genesis where God resigns himself from interfering in the affairs of man and grants dominion over all life on Earth. ‘And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.’

This assumed relationship with nature has permeated society in everything from natural philosophy through to advertising. The idea that man is somehow separate, above or outside nature and that human activity is unnatural and further, the idea that nature can be used as some sort of moralistic compass where ‘natural’ is synonymous with ‘good’ and ‘unnatural’ with ‘evil’ is deeply ingrained in contemporary culture and forms the centre of the debate around synthetic biology. 

Into Your Hands Are They Delivered aims to challenge this narrative consensus, to demonstrate how the ideas of nature and unnature, good and evil, faith and science are constructs of cultural heritage. Using the parasitic wasp – an already contentious creature in natural philosophy – as a wild card in an all-to-familiar allegorical world, the project invites the audience to play with the fable presented and reconstruct their own rules and interpretations of humanity’s position in relationship to the ‘nature’ we believe ourselves to be alternately caretakers and abusers of.

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