Ethiopia presents the story of an evolution, an enquiry into how societies co-exist and evolve. The exhibition marks the launch of an art-science collaboration between Koen Vanmechelen, MOUTH and the International Livestock Research Institute in Ethiopia. The project 'Incubated Worlds' explores ways that biocultural diversity can shape our lives and contribute to the development of small-scale sustainable food systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
In partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute, the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research, Koen Vanmechelen and MOUTH the discoveries from the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project are being harnessed by scientific research. In 2017, as follow-up to the African Chicken Genetics Gains (ACGG) Project backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cosmopolitan Chickens are to be crossbred with chicken strains selected according to productivity and farmer preference in sub-Saharan Africa. The resulting crossbred chicks will be known as Ethiopian African Planetary Community Chickens (EAPCC). They represent the uniting of the global with the local. And they are part of a quest to optimise the balance between diversity and productivity. The EAPCC combines the greater resilience of the genetically diverse Cosmopolitan Chicken with the productivity of the ACGG-selected strains.
It is significant that Ethiopia is at the heart of 'Incubated Worlds'. Ethiopia is the cradle of civilization. Through Incubated Worlds, it becomes the laboratory for a new balance. An exploration into the diversity of species is returning to the source of life, from where man stepped out into the world and began to interact with the other.