T-shirts: Lonely Loricariidae. 2014
These T-shirts were made for the Lonely Loricariidae project Brooks did for Art Basel Statements in 2014.
This shirt’s graphics has a phylogenetic tree showing all known Loricariidae species of fish. In other words, this is a cladogram that illustrates the evolutionary relationship between each of the few hundred species of this fish which have been scientifically described and attributed a species name.
Lonely Loricariidae was a sculptural installation that brought together five wild-caught fish from the Amazon Basin whose identities hang between two conflicting knowledge groups: the scientific study and taxonomy of the Loricariidae family of fish, and the commodification of Loricariidae in the ornamental aquarium trade.
Of the 100,000 or more Loricariidae fish that are both legally and illegally exported each year from South America, there are dozens of new species unknown to science that enter the flow of this international aquarium trade. Once beyond the border of their country of origin, the fish become legal commodities within the market and are arbitrarily assigned an identifying “L”number since they lack a species name.
For Art Basel Statements, David Brooks positioned these living creatures as spectators on a set of aluminum sports bleachers. Here these fish, who had yet to be studied and named by scientists, became active observers rather than simply the observed.
— from Art Basel Statements press release