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"Neukom Vivarium"Mark Dion

May 18, 2008

In this film, Mark Dion leads a discussion of his installation Neukom Vivarium (2006) at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. “I don’t really care if people call it art or not; that’s really not my question,” says the artist. “As far as I know, that question was solved. You know, Duchamp’s urinal was complacently sitting in MoMA before I wet my first diaper.”

The artwork of Mark Dion straddles science and fine art, as he configures natural ecology and decay into his practice. “What I care about is: is [the artwork] interesting?” Dion persists. “Am I making a kind of contribution to visual culture that’s engaging, that brings up questions, that produces dialogue and discourse?”

More information and credits


Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: John Gordon Hill. Sound: Charles Tomaras. Editor: Steven Wechsler. Artwork courtesy: Mark Dion. Thanks: Olympic Sculpture Park.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Mark Dion

Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between “objective” (“rational”) scientific methods and “subjective” (“irrational”) influences. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.

“We have a great test ahead of us, in terms of our relationship to the natural world.
If we pass the test, we get to keep the planet. But I don’t really see us doing a good job of that right now.”

Mark Dion

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“Neukom Vivarium”

Artist Mark Dion discusses his 2006 installation Neukom Vivarium.

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