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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathTransgenic Bodies

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the question of the perception of reality and the communication of presence.

By creating transgenic animals and integrating them domestically and socially, it is Kac’s declared intention to draw attention to the cultural effects and implications of a technology that is not accessible visually and bring these to the public’s attention for debate. Using biotechnology, Kac transfers synthetic genes to organisms and natural genes from one species to another. [32] Projected is the creation of originals, unique organisms. In his installation «Genesis,» Kac attempts to make biological processes and technological procedures visible, which for years now have been standard practice in research laboratories. In a dark room, a brightly illuminated petri dish stands on a pedestal. A video camera, [33] which is positioned above it, projects an oversize image of the dish onto the wall. Ultraviolet light falls onto the petri dish and the intensity of the light can be controlled by the visitor via a computer. This can be done either in the gallery or via the Internet. In this way the users can influence the processes of replication and interaction of the bacteria in the petri dish and observe these


in the magnified projection on the wall or on the Internet — processes, which normally can only be seen under a microscope. Thus the role of the observer is enhanced to that of active participant, who is able to intervene in the processes and influence the course of the work’s presentation.

The focus of the installation is a synthetic gene created by Kac, a so-called «artist’s gene.» First, he translated a sentence from the biblical Book of Genesis, the First Book of Moses, into Morse code and then converted it into DNA base pairs according to principles of conversion developed especially for this work. Kac chose the Morse code because it was first used in radiotelegraphy at the beginning of the information age and, thus, stands at the genesis of global communication. [34] The synthetic gene was cloned into plasmids and then transferred to bacteria, where it synthesises a new protein molecule. Two mutations of green fluorescent protein create two different bacteria with different spectral properties. This process, which would normally take place only within a laboratory, Kac has transferred to an art gallery. With his Transgenic Art, Kac wishes to draw

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