Gene(sis)

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Genesis or Gene(sis) is the name of a transgenic artwork by Eduardo Kac.[1]

Contents

What it is

The artwork involved implanting a new DNA sequence into bacteria and then mutating it.

How it was done

To complete the artwork, Kac took the biblical quote "Let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." -Genesis 1:26 and converted it into Morse code. He then translated that Morse code into a DNA sequence.

- = T, . = C, word space = A, letter space = G

The quote was chosen specifically by Kac because it to him represented mankind's "divinely sanctioned" right to manipulate the nature of the planet.

After incorporating this new genetic sequence into the bacteria Kac placed the bacteria on display under a UV lamp. Viewers of the artwork (especially those that disagreed with the notion that mankind had the divine right to manipulate nature) were invited to turn on the lap, thereby mutating the gene and changing the message.

Giving the viewers the ability to change the biblical message was also chosen as a symbolic part of the artwork, representing a rejection of the passage as inherited in favor of a more favorable interpretation.[2]

Final product

The end result of the artwork, after mutation, was translated back into English resulting in a new phrase.

"Let aan have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that ioves ua eon the earth."

References

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