Embrace The Future

On midsummers day 2017 on a misty moorland in Cornwall, Angela Cockayne filled a retired 44ft wooden fishing vessel named Embrace with over 300 artworks selected  from a collection of over 1500 individually made pieces to form the             Ark Embrace Collection.                   Film 8 minutes             Interview 20 mins

Ark Embrace is an Arts and natural science research collaboration which explores environmental issues through interdisciplinary practice, dialogue and curiosity. The ambition to create an ethical chamber of wonders which re-unifies philosophical enquiry from an ecological perspective, to obliquely disrupt or question our anthropogenic dominion, and discern some of the vapour trails we leave in our wake. As a species we are truly magnificent but equally flawed by a propensity to self-destruction, our environmental impact is a testament to this.

The Ark is now empty, the door is open ready to receive nominations to form a new public artwork, an international digital vessel and repository kept afloat by public imagination.

The works in this nominated collection will serve as a conduit that enables a playful and creative dialogue, which facilitates investigation and perspective for the impact we have wrought upon ‘our’ environment. Ark Embrace aims to covertly maintain a cultural legacy, which accepts we have an environmental ecological problem to address.

We need to talk about the future, and the unpalatable looming catastrophe of climate change caused by man-made global warming. Half the global population of animals has been wiped from the planet in the last fifty years due to our anthropogenic dominion.

Scientists now believe that the sixth mass extinction probably began fifty years ago through global warming, over harvesting, habitat destruction, pollution, alien displacement and human overpopulation. After 4 billion years of evolution, human activities and influences are accelerating the rate of species extinction at an alarming rate.

It has been reported that animal population across the planet has decreased by 80% since 1900.  The ‘normal ‘ expected rate of extinction is 200 species a year; a current estimate is 30,000 species a year. At the present rate of deforestation we have ten years left of the Amazon rainforest, and on our current trajectory only 30 years to fish less oceans.

The bombproof seed vault in the Artic containing the seeds of 3 million known plant species flooded in 2017 due to the permafrost melting. The permafrost now daily releases treasures frozen since the last ice age; of mammoth tusks, bacteria and the toxic methane gases that have been locked in ice for millions of years.

It is thought we may only have sixty years of harvests left in the UK due to soil degradation, climate breakdown, run off, and over harvesting. Governments need to address and give incentive to more sustainable agricultural practice before it is too late. When the soil is gone it is gone forever, with devastating effects on insects, birds, wildlife and food production.

It is no one’s fault, but it is all our fault, if we do nothing to try and prevent the impact of global warming. Nature is mutable, we must respect our host- the ‘natural environment’ it does not belong to us, it never did.


Please nominate what you would like to preserve. If we owe a debt to the past as custodians we can only repay that to the world of the future. Preserve today for all our tomorrows in an ethical waterproof cabinet of curiosity. All creatures great and small and ideas worth sharing. Your chance to fill this international vessel of delight and veneration with the wonderful things that need safeguarding from the impact of our own dominion, and the unchartered waters caused by global warming.


Swallows were the first visitors onboard Embrace, they nested inside in 2016.   Three chicks fledged, they returned again last summer. Update -summer 2019 nineteen chicks have fledged.


Ark Embrace      Public Nominations for Preservation



David Attenborough.




The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris, nominated by Ingrid Newton.

“We do not care for what we do not know and on the whole we do not know what we cannot name” R Macfarlane.



The complete work of David Bowie



Hands across the seas. Pacifist postcard sent by Virginia Woolf.




Sweet Peas nominated by Dr Roxanne Jackson.




A biomorphic bestiary      Desmond Morris.



MA 02

The Great Apes.    Mimetes Anon by Alistair Mackie   photo Tessa Angus

Mimetes Anon, 2009 Bronze 82 x 52 x 50cm
Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society as a public sculpture for the Economist Plaza, London. The title refers to a synonym for the chimpanzee originated in the 1820s (mimetes – from the Greek word meaning ‘to imitate’, anon – at an unspecified future time) #economistplaza  #alistairmackie 


sally dog

Dogs – The first animal to be domesticated 1500 years ago.    Painted by Sally Muir




Little Anna Travels/ Talisman     nominated by  Anna Iltnere




Pangolins x2 nominated by Sally Muir.



Snowflakes nominated by Trudy Fearns

William Scoresby’s drawings of snowflakes An Account of the Arctic Regions, 1820



Sea Biscuits nominated by Layne Lambert.

Known as ‘worm castles’ ‘pilot bread’, ‘cabin bread’, ‘ship biscuit’, ‘sea bread’, ‘hard tack’, ‘molar breakers’, or ‘sheet iron’.  Inexpensive long lasting, they will last for years even through temperature extremes. Recipe 3 cups of white flour 2 teaspoons of salt 1 cup of water nail. Roll out perforate with a ‘nail’, cook for 45 mins in moderate oven.



William Fox Talbot’s first photograph 1835 Lacock. Nominated by Ben Jones.

The Oriel window- the home of photography.



Choughs x 2 Nominated by Sarah Taylor. The national emblem of Cornwall.

Through nest monitoring and protection this rare bird has been brought back from the brink.



                                 Bowerbirds x 2 Nominated by Bronwen Gwillim



Guillemots x2 by Adam Nicholson



Chess  Nominated by Ben Jones



Sea jewels from Japan the Seahorse and Sea Dragon

Nominated by Yoko Kogiso @ yoyo studio




Paddle board Nominated by Trudy Fearns

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer

James Joyce Ulysses nominated by Anna Iltnere



Skylark x 2 & Lapwing x 2

Nominated by Jackie Morris



The Knowledge- Lewis Dartnell, How to rebuild our world from scratch.                    Nominated by Brydee Strang.



Embrace inventories- The Oyster Book of Birds,  The Scallop Catalogue of Books.



Animal Farm by George Orwell nominated by Carly Klineberg First published in 1945

Come the revolution-fable meets political satire. All animals are equal but in this text some more than others. Cover design by Shepard Fairey.



Flora from a Cornish coastpath in May, Nominated by Holly Nicholls.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, nominated by Jill Nicholls.


The wonderful, digressive, prophetic Moby-Dick By Herman Melville, nominated by Jill Nicholls. All 136 incredible chapters available @ mobydickbigread    listen free 

The story which inspired Moby-Dick

Lichens & Moss nominated by Mandy Bonnell Stunning drawings of these ancient plants archived in two exquisite collections.



Swimming Home by Deborah Levy nominated by Jill Nicholls.




Trees nominated By Jackson Fearns, Ships Log of submerged trees and drowned rivers.




Frogspawn of the common frog, pulsing in a light, warm well nourished receptacle. Nominated by Katherine Anteney.

The North Atlantic Right Whale nominated by Philip Hoare.

The Art of Swimming (1587) by Everard Digby nominated by Sue Jones.


Floral tribute nominated by Kathy VandeVelde, created by Sue Robinson. To celebrate Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffrage movement. #Vote #equality #respect #timesup.

A Minoan pot in the shape of a boat, c 1400 BC, from Chania, with honeycomb cells in its deck designed to be filled with honey for the voyage to eternity? Nominated by Adam Nicolson.

The Folklorist now onboard Embrace nominated by Layne, an award winning community access series which explores some of the unique and lesser-known stories throughout history.


Ahab’s cat nominated by Honeybee. Captain Ahab didn’t have a cat but I have been asked ‘to pretend he did’ . This international digital repository of delight and curiosity is only held afloat by the realm of the public imagination.

‘Moby’ the millennium  cat, stranger than fiction.. he exists ! and has done for 18 years now preserved for the future on Embrace with Ahab’s cat. Nominated by Anna Iltnere. No eating of nominations allowed.


If we owe a debt to the past we can only repay the future. Sometimes it is what we omit that allows us to do this. Jacob Ninan nominated an Ark free of politics, racism, gun violence and selfishness. Where money cannot be passed on and knowledge would be carved into the rocks.

The full collection of Bjork’s work has been nominated by Nathan Taylor

A Solitary Bee nominated by Carly Klineberg one of 267 species in the UK. Does not live in a hive and has a pollination rate equivalent to 120 worker bees.

Cornish Pasties now onboard Embrace nominated by Sarah Taylor

Dandelion seeds nominated by Peter Dickinson an important food supply in early spring for bees. Installation by Michel Francois.

The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson nominated by Cally Yeatman. The incredible lives of feathered ocean voyagers some perched on a knife edge  of existence. Volume 2 also on order for the Ark Embrace library.


A Pair Of Little Terns nominated by Cally Yeatman


Ark Embrace Inventories- The Mussel book of Sea Airs, Byssal one of the strongest natural fibres is the sea silk or ‘beard’ filaments secreted by Molluscs to attach themselves to rocks.    Found on a cornish shore after storm force seas and freezing temperatures in April 2018 the beach was littered  with dead and dying oysters, starfish, molluscs and other invertebrates.



A shaker table made from English cherry wood nominated by Andrew Southall

The discography of Moby nominated by Anna Iltnerne