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Eduardo Kac

Genesis 2

Eduardo Kac, Genesis, 1999
Eduardo Kac, Genesis, 1999 Eduardo Kac, Genesis, 1999 Eduardo Kac, Genesis, 1999
Genesis 2 is the second phase of an earlier project by Eduardo Kac entitled Genesis 1, a transgenic installation. Genesis 1 (1999) entailed the creation of an "artist's gene". For Kac, the first manifestation of his transgenic art was at the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria, in 1999. Genesis 1 entailed the creation of an "artist's gene." A synthetic gene was produced by translating a sentence from the Book of Genesis into Morse code and then converting this code into DNA base pairs according to a conversion principle specifically developed for this work. The gene was consequently expressed in E. coli bacteria. Through the Web, participants could turn on an ultraviolet light box in the gallery and mutate the bacteria. The entire set-up was located in an ultraviolet protective enclosure, thus making the bacteria harmless to the visitors in the gallery. In the Ars Electronica catalogue dedicated to Kac's Genesis project, Gerfried Stocker notes that:

"Artists such as Eduardo Kac are working on proposals for our immediate future, in which the traditional differentiation between natural and artificial, which has been constructed along the lines of the concepts organic and self-organized for living beings and externally determined for machines, will no longer be valid. This is a development that challenges us to a new self-comprehension as human beings, not only at a philosophical level, but also and as least as much at the level of so-called ordinary common sense. If we go on from the representation and simulation of life to the creation and shaping of life, then this is an area from which art cannot abstain." (1)

The Daniel Langlois Foundation has funded the development of Genesis 2, which focus on the protein produced by the synthetic gene created in Genesis 1.

Genesis was shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from September 20 to December 9, 2007, for the exhibition e-art: New Technologies and Contemporary Art, Ten Years of Accomplishments by the Daniel Langlois Foundation.

Angela Plohman © 2000 FDL

(1) Gerfried Stocker, "Uprising" in Genesis (Linz, Austria: O. K. Center for Contemporary Art, 1999): 42-43.