The Ark is a project about extinction made tangible. It is also about the post-natural solutions—IVF, stem cell technology—that could potentially bring endangered species back from the brink of destruction. The northern white rhinoceros is the most endangered animal on the planet. Only three remain, and they are protected at all times by armed bodyguards. Until recently, there were four of them left, but Nola died in San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park in November 2015 during the making of this project which makes this story even more urgent. In San Diego, a team of scientists continue to develop a ‘genetic rescue’ program for the species. Central to this program is the Frozen Zoo, a four foot-tall, liquid nitrogen-cooled aluminum canister in the basement of the San Diego Zoo’s lab complex.The Ark is a virtual reality documentary that puts viewers face-to-face with the last northern white rhinos, and tells the story of the global coalition of scientists who are fighting to rescue the species. The Ark offers a way to know these animals—to be in their presence—even in the event of their extinction.
Made with the generous support of the Tim Hetherington Trust and 459 Kickstarter backers.
Supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.
About the Director(s)
Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neil are Jongsma + O’Neill, a Dutch-American artist duo who make strange documentaries. They are the 2015 winners of the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award, and the directors of POV Digital's Emmy-nominated, Webby-honored interactive project Empire.
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