Mary Kuiper

Sculpture, 2023

A bird’s nest evokes shelter, fertility, and vulnerability. As everything passes. It becomes a jewel of both form and content.

As humans’ explorations bring new life to other planets, so does a nest bring new life to a tree. Each nest tells a story of the bird who made it, and is constructed from found materials. One nest, I discovered, included horse hair in its structure. My piece uses horse hair as a vehicle to send DNA to the moon and remind future generations of the interconnections between all species, and celestial and terrestrial bodies.

The horse hair was chosen by the bird to make the nest due to its strength, just as horses were used by humans throughout time for their strength. Giving horses their energy, at a cellular level, are mitochondria which power cells and contain mitochondrial DNA. Although cloning may come to mind when thinking of DNA, mitochondrial DNA cannot be used for cloning, and indeed cloning is not part of the message of this piece. Rather, mitochondrial DNA is contained in all living creatures on Earth, linking all beings at our essence and reinforcing our connection to the universe.

The circle formed by this piece can also be found in the circular shape of mitochondrial DNA, the formation of a single hair, even bird nests. But this shape is also repeated in outer space, in the appearance of the moon itself and other planetary bodies. This piece reminds us the simplicity of the circle does not diminish its power, it is unbreakable and infinite just like our ever expanding universe.