See more objects with the tag , technology, movement, zoology, simulation, pixels.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.



  • You found it!

The Substitute

It was designed by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and studio of The Mill. It is dated 2019. Its medium is installation, video. It is a part of the department.

On March 19, 2018, the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died, bringing his subspecies to the brink of extinction. As scientists work to resurrect the rhino through experimental and controversial biotechnologies, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg “brings back to life” a male northern white rhino using data generated by artificial intelligence to ask the question “what errors in reproduction may arise as we recreate life artificially?” Confined to a virtual room, the artificial rhino begins its life with no grid cells—specialized brain cells in mammals that help them navigate space. The rhino develops grid-cell representations as it moves around the confined space and calibrates to it, becoming increasingly intelligent. As it habituates to its environment, the rhino’s form and sound toggle from pixelated to lifelike—reminding us that this rhino, coming to life without its natural context, is entirely artificial.

It is credited Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Cube design museum.

  • Vinaigrette (Scotland)
  • worked horn with applied repoussé silver, topaz.
  • Gift of Anonymous Donor.
  • 1967-48-85
  • Longhorn Ottoman
  • steer horn, wood, metal, brass, glass, leatherette (not original).
  • Gift of Jack Lenor Larsen.
  • 1986-39-2

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=The Substitute |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>