Saturday, August 22, 2015

''The Art of Life in the Anthropocene'' (2013 essay)

 David Biello writes at :

Flower creation, maggot painting, microbe literature, and bio art.

April 13th, 2013 reset - +
Photo: Eduardo Kac, “Natural History of the Enigma.” Courtesy Black Box Gallery, Copenhagen.

THE RED VEINS of a certain pink petunia flower come courtesy of human DNA — the A’s, C’s, T’s, and G’s that teach a cell how to build itself. With the help of a virus, Brazilian-born Eduardo Kac was able to stitch human DNA — his own — into a petunia, veining the flower’s petals in red by generating an antibody with a snippet of his genetic code. This so-called “Edunia” is neither the product of genetic research, per se, nor botanical gamesmanship. Kac is simply an artist, and the Edunia (along with limited edition seed packs) has been exhibited from Minneapolis to Barcelona, a show he calls “Natural History of the Enigma.”
Or, as Kac puts it:
The petal pink background, against which the red veins are seen, is evocative of my own pinkish white skin tone. The result of this molecular manipulation is a bloom that creates the living image of human blood rushing through the veins of a flower.
Such is art in the Anthropocene, this new era of man necessitated by our ever-expanding impacts on the planet as a whole, from geology to biology. Kac’s work is hardly alone. Bio-art in the Anthropocene ranges from a book stored entirely in DNA to a poem “written” by a microbe, a living poem known as “The Xenotext” to its progenitor (not exactly author) Christian Bök of the University of Calgary.

Here’s how Bök’s living poem, once translated into English from DNA, goes:
Any style of life
Is prim
To which the microbe responds by writing out a protein that can be translated as this:
The faerie is rosy
Of glow

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