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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathTransgenic Bodies

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attention to the cultural implications of biotechnology and its possibilities for transforming and manipulating life. However, the aesthetics of this artistic presentation overwhelm the demonstration of the laboratory’s function as the place where knowledge is produced. Transgenic organisms have been produced in laboratories now for over twenty years and the first bioluminescent mice were bred in 1995. When, in 2000, Kac created his second transgenic artwork, «Bunny 2000,» a bioluminescent rabbit named Alba, researchers had already created the first primate carrying a green fluorescent protein, a monkey named Andi. Kac may use advanced biotechnology in his work, yet the metaphors surrounding this technology and the interplay between cultural norms and technical development remain unaddressed. [35]

Joe Davis: Bridge between Two Cultures

Under the title «‹Genetic art› Builds Cryptic Bridge between Two Cultures,» in November 1995 the science journal Nature reported on an exhibition held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Joe Davis, artist in residence at the Massachusetts Institute


of Technology (M.I.T.), intended to exhibit a strain of Escherichia coli bacteria, which he had developed in the period December 1993 to January 1994 in collaboration with the Laboratory of Molecular Structure at M.I.T. Biology and the Burghardt Wittig Laboratory of the Free University of Berlin. Davis wanted to present these deep-frozen recombinant E. coli bacteria on the premises of the university. The university’s security department, however, regarded this plan as constituting a serious safety risk and demanded that the artist treat the genetically manipulated organisms with formaldehyde and chloroform. Although an artist may make use of state of the art genetic engineering techniques, ultimately, it is not the artist who decides on the form of their presentation; in this case, it was the security department of the university. Seemingly this exhibition suspended the boundaries between art and science; bridged the gap between the sharply bipolar cultures for the time being. However, the intervention of the university’s security department brought into sharp focus just where the dividing line between these two cultural levels lies.

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