Margaret Keller

St Louis, Missouri, US


Botanica Absentia

mixed media (aluminum, wood, chrome, laser-cut dichroic Plexiglas, embossed stainless steel, holographic vinyl, light, luminescent dye)

Botanica absentia is an interactive, engaging artwork designed to shift our cultural story to better understand the seriousness of current rates of extinction, along with increasing our awareness of the huge number of endangered and vulnerable species.
Botanica absentia is a memorial to extinct trees, set in an imaginary future after the climate crisis has caused devastation to the point where most species of plants and animals, including humans, have become extinct or mutated in order to survive. As viewers enter the darkened space, multicolored reflections of moving colored shapes, a brilliant holographic rainbow-colored floor, and a massive suspended silver tree limb from the ‘now- extinct’ redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, featuring hundreds of crystal-like, iridescent, dangling seedpods, catch their attention and draw them inside. Hung in a grid and filling one wall, 72 stainless steel tags can be held and read by the public. Each tag is embossed with the common and botanical names of a currently endangered tree. Viewers are urged to take a small card that includes text encouraging personal action to help save these trees via The Red List website. Attached to this card are two small, black pins/buttons that can be worn on clothing. One pin states ‘Botanica absentia’, while the other says ‘Red List’.

Photos: Josh Rowan
  • Margaret Keller
Want to hear from us occasionally? Subscribe to our newsletter