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The history of the rhinoceros in Europe is a long and complex one: reaching back to the Woolly Rhinoceros, a now extinct species which once roamed continental Europe, through the tragic fate of the first Indian rhinos brought to Europe during the frenzied period of colonisation, to their arrival, finally, in modern zoos. In their project “Rhino”, designer Anna Maria Fink and writer Mizt aan de Maas set out to free the rhino from this story, by challenging its spatial manifestations. In particular, the fact that “Rhino” is designed as a personal encounter with a specific character, serves as a reaction to the role of the zoological garden as a collection of several species. By telling the story of a dystopian alternate universe in which humans are dominated by rhinos, Mizt liberates the animal from the passive role they are assigned within the zoo. At the same time, in an evocative collection of images, Anna deliberately (and literally) removes the character from their artificial context and playfully places them into everyday space. The imagery and the story are intertwined in a small book in a way that challenges our notion of who Rhino is and where they belong.

Chiara Dorbolò & Daphne Bakker

Rhino. An Alternative Story is part of Stories on Earth, a project curated by Daphne Bakker and Chiara Dorbolò in association with Failed Architecture for the 17th Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, supported by Creative Industries Fund NL and Het Nieuwe Instituut.

story written by Mizt aan de Maas

illustration and book design by Anna Maria Fink

video by Juan Benavides


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