BAMBI is an exhibition in collaboration with Bambi, a male golden hamster born in early 2019.
All golden hamsters (mesocricetus auratus) held in captivity today in homes and laboratories are descended from a single wild female found in 1930 in a Syrian field. This female, one of the few adult specimens captured alive, survives in the genetic code and instinct of every domestic golden hamster.
Coming from a limited and constantly threatened natural habitat, there is no clear record of the conservation status of the golden hamster, nor of an approximate number of its wild population. The vulnerability of the wild state of the species and its current abundance in captivity has conditioned the natural history of the golden hamster to the observation of its behavior in cages and aquariums.
In the exhibition space, Bambi inhabited a specially designed home-studio for a month, which also displayed intervened objects and sculptures made before and during the exhibition. These interventions are records of remnant actions, vestiges of their relationship to a natural world hundreds of generations in the past. Like all golden hamsters, for us Bambi lives in the present, and his experience is separated from nature to the point that his innate behaviors no longer condition his survival and seem to approach creative leisure.
During the exhibition, Bambi slept during the day to protect himself from the heat of the desert, dug tunnels to hide from predators, stored more food than he needed and gnawed everything in his path. As if his world was going to end.
The show was on view until August 3, at Galeria NAC, Santiago de Chile. Bambi still lives in his home-studio in a family household and he is well cared for.