Eduardo Kac ::: Biography


My transgenic artwork GFP Bunny comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit, the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. GFP stands for green fluorescent protein. GFP Bunny was realized in 2000 and first introduced to the public at large in Avignon, France. Transgenic art, I proposed elsewhere [1], is a new art form based on the use of genetic engineering to create unique living beings. This must be done with great care, with acknowledgment of the complex issues thus raised and, above all, with a commitment to respect, nurture, and love the life thus created.

Welcome, Alba
I will never forget the moment when I first held her in my arms, in Jouy-en-Josas, France, on April 29, 2000. My apprehensive anticipation was replaced by joy and excitement. Alba - the name given her by my wife, my daughter, and I - was lovable and affectionate and an absolute delight to play with. As I cradled her, she playfully tucked her head between my body and my left arm, finding at last a comfortable position to rest and enjoy my gentle strokes. She immediately awoke in me a strong and urgent sense of responsibility for her well-being.
Alba is undoubtedly a very special animal, but I want to be clear that her formal and genetic uniqueness are but one component of the GFP Bunny artwork. The GFP Bunny project is a complex social event that starts with the creation of a chimerical animal that does not exist in nature (i.e., "chimerical" in the sense of a cultural tradition of imaginary animals, not in the scientific connotation of an organism in which there is a mixture of cells in the body) and that also includes at its core: 1) ongoing dialogue between professionals of several disciplines (art, science, philosophy, law, communications, literature, social sciences) and the public on cultural and ethical implications of genetic engineering; 2) contestation of the alleged supremacy of DNA in life creation in favor of a more complex understanding of the intertwined relationship between genetics, organism, and environment; 3) extension of the concepts of biodiversity and evolution to incorporate precise work at the genomic level; 4) interspecies communication between humans and a transgenic mammal; 5) integration and presentation of GFP Bunny in a social and interactive context; 6) examination of the notions of normalcy, heterogeneity, purity, hybridity, and otherness; 7) consideration of a non-semiotic notion of communication as the sharing of genetic material across traditional species barriers; 8) public respect and appreciation for the emotional and cognitive life of transgenic animals; 9) expansion of practical and conceptual boundaries of artmaking to incorporate life invention.

Glow in the family
Alba, the green fluorescent bunny, is an albino rabbit. This means that, since she has no skin pigment, under ordinary environmental conditions she is completely white with pink eyes. Alba is not green all the time. She only glows when illuminated with the correct light. When (and only when) illuminated with blue light (maximum excitation at 488 nm), she glows with a bright green light (maximum emission at 509 nm). It is imperative to use a special yellow filter to see the glow. She was created with EGFP, an enhanced version (i.e., a synthetic mutation) of the original wild-type green fluorescent gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria. EGFP gives about two orders of magnitude greater fluorescence in mammalian cells (including human cells) than the original jellyfish gene. [2]
The first phase of the GFP Bunny project was completed in February 2000 with the birth of Alba in Jouy-en-Josas, France. This was accomplished with the invaluable assistance of zoosystemician Louis Bec and scientists Louis-Marie Houdebine and Patrick Prunet. [3] Alba's name was chosen by consensus between my wife Ruth, my daughter Miriam, and myself. The second phase is the ongoing debate, which started with the first public announcement of Alba's birth, in the context of the Planet Work conference, in San Francisco, on May 14, 2000. The third phase will take place when the bunny comes home to Chicago, becoming part of my family and living with us from this point on.

From domestication to selective breeding
The human-rabbit association can be traced back to the biblical era, as exemplified by passages in the books Leviticus (Lev. 11:5) and Deuteronomy (De. 14:7), which make reference to saphan, the Hebrew word for rabbit. Phoenicians seafarers discovered rabbits on the Iberian Peninsula around 1100 BC and, thinking that these were Hyraxes (also called Rock Dassies), called the land "i-shepan-im" (land of the Hyraxes). Since the Iberian Peninsula is north of Africa, relative geographic position suggests that another Punic derivation comes from sphan, "north." Bunnies were also part of Egyptian culture. As the Romans adapted "i-shepan-im" to Latin, the word Hispania was created - one of the etymological origins of Spain. In his book III the Roman geographer Strabo (ca. 64 BC - AD 21) called Spain "the land of rabbits." Later on, the Roman emperor Servius Sulpicius Galba (5 BC - AD 69), whose reign was short-lived (68-69 AD), issued a coin on which Spain is represented with a rabbit at her feet. A similar coin was issued by the Roman emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus (Hadrian), who reigned from 117 to 138 AD. Although semi-domestication started in the Roman period, in this initial phase rabbits were kept in large walled pens and were allowed to breed freely. For the Aztecs the rabbit had particular significance. Tochtli, or rabbit, was the eighth day sign of the Tonalpohualli, the Aztec sacred calendar. Rabbit is the Aztec calendar sign for the date of the earth's creation.

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

While there are well over 100 known breeds of rabbit around the world, "recognized" pedigree breeds vary from one country to another. For example, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) "recognizes" 45 breeds in the U.S.A., with more under development.

Eduardo Kac. Encryption Stones, 2001. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

In addition to selective breeding, naturally occurring genetic variations also contributed to morphological diversity. The albino rabbit, for example, is a natural (recessive) mutation which in the wild has minimal chances of survival (due to lack of proper pigmentation for camouflage and keener vision to spot prey). However, because it has been bred by humans, it can be found widely in healthy populations. The human preservation of albino animals is also connected to ancient cultural traditions: almost every Native American tribe believed that albino animals had particular spiritual significance and had strict rules to protect them. [6]

Eduardo Kac. Encryption Stones, 2001. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

From breeding to transgenic art
GFP Bunny is a transgenic artwork and not a breeding project. The differences between the two include the principles that guide the work, the procedures employed, and the main objectives. Traditionally, animal breeding has been a multi-generational selection process that has sought to create pure breeds with standard form and structure, often to serve a specific performative function. As it moved from rural milieus to urban environments, breeding de-emphasized selection for behavioral attributes but continued to be driven by a notion of aesthetics anchored on visual traits and on morphological principles. Transgenic art, by contrast, offers a concept of aesthetics that emphasizes the social rather than the formal aspects of life and biodiversity, that challenges notions of genetic purity, that incorporates precise work at the genomic level, and that reveals the fluidity of the concept of species in an ever increasingly transgenic social context.
As a transgenic artist, I am not interested in the creation of genetic objects, but on the invention of transgenic social subjects. In other words, what is important is the completely integrated process of creating the bunny, bringing her to society at large, and providing her with a loving, caring, and nurturing environment in which she can grow safe and healthy. This integrated process is important because it places genetic engineering in a social context in which the relationship between the private and the public spheres are negotiated. In other words, biotechnology, the private realm of family life, and the social domain of public opinion are discussed in relation to one another. Transgenic art is not about the crafting of genetic objets d'art, either inert or imbued with vitality. Such an approach would suggest a conflation of the operational sphere of life sciences with a traditional aesthetics that privileges formal concerns, material stability, and hermeneutical isolation. Integrating the lessons of dialogical philosophy [7] and cognitive ethology [8], transgenic art must promote awareness of and respect for the spiritual (mental) life of the transgenic animal.

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

In order to be practicable, this aesthetic platform - which reconciles forms of social intervention with semantic openness and systemic complexity - must acknowledge that every situation, in art as in life, has its own specific parameters and limitations. So the question is not how to eliminate circumscription altogether (an impossibility), but how to keep it indeterminate enough so that what human and nonhuman participants think, perceive, and do when they experience the work matters in a significant way. My answer is to make a concerted effort to remain truly open to the participant's choices and behaviors, to give up a substantial portion of control over the experience of the work, to accept the experience as-it-happens as a transformative field of possibilities, to learn from it, to grow with it, to be transformed along the way. Alba is a participant in the GFP Bunny transgenic artwork; so is anyone who comes in contact with her, and anyone who gives any consideration to the project. A complex set of relationships between family life, social difference, scientific procedure, interspecies communication, public discussion, ethics, media interpretation, and art context is at work.
Throughout the twentieth century art progressively moved away from pictorial representation, object crafting, and visual contemplation. Artists searching for new directions that could more directly respond to social transformations gave emphasis to process, concept, action, interaction, new media, environments, and critical discourse. Transgenic art acknowledges these changes and at the same time offers a radical departure from them, placing the question of actual creation of life at the center of the debate. Undoubtedly, transgenic art also develops in a larger context of profound shifts in other fields. Throughout the twentieth century physics acknowledged uncertainty and relativity, anthropology shattered ethnocentricity, philosophy denounced truth, literary criticism broke away from hermeneutics, astronomy discovered new planets, biology found "extremophile" microbes living in conditions previously believed not capable of supporting life, molecular biology made cloning a reality.

Eduardo Kac. Genesis, 1999. Ars Electronica Festival. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

Transgenic art acknowledges the human role in rabbit evolution as a natural element, as a chapter in the natural history of both humans and rabbits, for domestication is always a bidirectional experience. As humans domesticate rabbits, so do rabbits domesticate their humans. If teleonomy is the apparent purpose in the organization of living systems [15], then transgenic art suggests a non-utilitarian and more subtle approach to the debate. Moving beyond the metaphor of the artwork as a living organism into a complex embodiment of the trope, transgenic art opens a nonteleonomic domain for the life sciences. In other words, in the context of transgenic art humans exert influence in the organization of living systems, but this influence does not have a pragmatic purpose. Transgenic art does not attempt to moderate, undermine, or arbitrate the public discussion. It seeks to contribute a new perspective that offers ambiguity and subtlety where we usually only find affirmative ("in favor") and negative ("against") polarity. GFP Bunny highlights the fact that transgenic animals are regular creatures that are as much part of
social life as any other life form, and thus are deserving of as much love and care as any other animal. [16]
In developing the GFP Bunny project I have paid close attention and given careful consideration to any potential harm that might be caused. I decided to proceed with the project because it became clear that it was safe. [17] There were no surprises throughout the process: the genetic sequence responsible for the production of the green fluorescent protein was integrated into the genome through zygote microinjection. [18] The pregnancy was carried to term successfully. GFP Bunny does not propose any new form of genetic experimentation, which is the same as saying: the technologies of microinjection and green fluorescent protein are established well-known tools in the field of molecular biology. Green fluorescent protein has already been successfully expressed in many host organisms, including mammals. There are no mutagenic effects resulting from transgene integration into the host genome. Put another way: green fluorescent protein is harmless to the rabbit. It is also important to point out that the GFP Bunny project breaks no social rule: humans have determined the evolution of rabbits for at least 1400 years.

Eduardo Kac. GFP Bunny - Paris Intervention, 2000. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

Alternatives to alterity
As we negotiate our relationship with our lagomorph companion [19], it is necessary to think rabbit agency without anthropomorphizing it. Relationships are not tangible, but they form a fertile field of investigation in art, pushing interactivity into a literal domain of intersubjectivity. Everything exists in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. By focusing my work on the interconnection between biological, technological, and hybrid entities I draw attention to this simple but fundamental fact. To speak of interconnection or intersubjectivity is to acknowledge the social dimension of consciousness. Therefore, the concept of intersubjectivity must take into account the complexity of animal minds. In this context, and particularly in regard to GFP Bunny, one must be open to understanding the rabbit mind, and more specifically to Alba's unique spirit as an individual. It is a common misconception that a rabbit is less intelligent than, for example, a dog, because, among other peculiarities, it seems difficult for a bunny to find food right in front of her face. The cause of this ordinary phenomenon becomes clear when we consider that the rabbit's visual system has eyes placed high and to the sides of the skull, allowing the rabbit to see nearly 360 degrees. As a result, the rabbit has a small blind spot of about l0 degrees directly in front of her nose and below her chin. [20] Although rabbits do not see images as sharply as we do, they are able to recognize individual humans through a combination of voice, body movements, and scent as cues, provided that humans interact with their rabbits regularly and don't change their overall configuration in dramatic ways (such as wearing a costume that alters the human form or using a strong perfume). Understanding how the rabbit sees the world is certainly not enough to appreciate its consciousness but it allows us to gain insights about its behavior, which leads us to adapt our own to make life more comfortable and pleasant for everyone.

Eduardo Kac. Free Alba! 2001. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

Alba is a healthy and gentle mammal. Contrary to popular notions of the alleged monstrosity of genetically engineered organisms, her body shape and coloration are exactly of the same kind we ordinarily find in albino rabbits. Unaware that Alba is a glowing bunny, it is impossible for anyone to notice anything unusual about her. Therefore Alba undermines any ascription of alterity predicated on morphology and behavioral traits. It is precisely this productive ambiguity that sets her apart: being at once same and different. As is the case in most cultures, our relationship with animals is profoundly revealing of ourselves. Our daily coexistence and interaction with members of other species remind us of our uniqueness as humans.

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

Transgenic art is a firm rejection of this view and a reminder that communication and interaction between sentient and nonsentient actants lies at the core of what we call life. Rather than accepting the move from the complexity of life processes to genetics, transgenic art gives emphasis to the social existence of organisms, and thus highlights the evolutionary continuum of physiological and behavioral characteristics between the species. The mystery and beauty of life is as great as ever when we realize our close biological kinship with other species and when we understand that from a limited set of genetic bases life has evolved on Earth with organisms as diverse as bacteria, plants, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Eduardo Kac. The Eight Day, 2001. Detail. Arizona State University. Courtesy Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago.

Transgenesis, art, and society
The success of human genetic therapy suggests the benefits of altering the human genome to heal or to improve the living conditions of fellow humans. In this sense, the introduction of foreign genetic material in the human genome can be seen not only as welcome but as desirable. Developments in molecular biology, such as the above example, are at times used to raise the specter of eugenics and biological warfare, and with it the fear of banalization and abuse of genetic engineering. This fear is legitimate, historically grounded [22], and must be addressed. Contributing to the problem, companies often employ empty rhetorical strategies to persuade the public, thus failing to engage in a serious debate that acknowledges both the problems and benefits of the technology. There are indeed serious threats, such as the possible loss of privacy regarding one's own genetic information, and unacceptable practices already underway, such as biopiracy (the appropriation and patenting of genetic material from its owners without explicit permission).
As we consider these problems, we can not ignore the fact that a complete ban on all forms of genetic research would prevent the development of much needed cures for the many devastating diseases that ravage human and nonhumankind. The problem is even more complex. Should such therapies be developed successfully, what sectors of society will have access to them? Clearly, the question of genetics is not purely and simply a scientific matter, but one that is directly connected to political and economic directives. Precisely for this reason, the fear raised by both real and potential abuse of this technology must be channeled productively by society. Rather than embracing a blind rejection of the technology, which is undoubtedly already a part of the new biopolitics [23], citizens of open societies must make an effort to study the multiple views on the subject, learn about the historical background surrounding the issues, understand the vocabulary and the main research efforts underway, develop alternative views based on their own ideas, debate the issue, and arrive at their own conclusions in an effort to generate mutual understanding. Inasmuch as this seems a daunting task, drastic consequences may result from hype, sheer pposition, or indifference.
This is where art can also be of great social value. Since the domain of art is symbolic even when intervening directly in a given context [24], art can contribute to reveal the cultural implications of the revolution underway and offer different ways of thinking about and with biotechnology. Transgenic art is a mode of genetic inscription that is at once inside and outside of the operational realm of molecular biology, negotiating the terrain between science and culture. Transgenic art can help science to recognize the role of relational and communicational issues in the development of organisms. It can help culture by unmasking the popular belief that DNA is the "master molecule" through an emphasis on the whole organism and the environment (the context). At last, transgenic art can contribute to the field of aesthetics by opening up the new symbolic and pragmatic dimension of art as the literal creation of and responsibility for life.

References and Notes:
The material has been prepared by the author for the present edition based on the: Dobrila, P.T., and Kostic, A. (eds.) Eduardo Kac: Telepresence, Biotelematics, and Transgenic Art (Maribor, Slovenia: Kibla, 2000), pp.101-131. For text, including complete notes, please see: <>

[1]. Kac, E. "Transgenic Art." In: Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 6, N. 11, December 1998. Republished in: Stocker, G., and Schopf, C. (eds.) Ars Electronica '99 - Life Science (Vienna, New York: Springer, 1999), pp.289-296.
[2]. For a comprehensive overview of green fluorescent protein as a genetic marker, see: Chalfie, M., Kain, S. Green fluorescent protein: properties, applications, and protocols (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1998).
[3]. Artist, curator, and cultural promoter Louis Bec coined the term zoosystemicien (zoosystemician) to define his artistic practice and his sphere of interest, i.e., the digital modeling of living systems. Louis-Marie Houdebine and Patrick Prunet are scientists who work at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique-INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research), France.
[4]. For an account of the history of domestication, see: Caras, R.A. A Perfect Harmony: The Intertwining Lives of Animals and Humans Throughout History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996). For a discussion of rabbit evolution from the perspective of molecular biology, see: Su C.,and Nei M., "Fifty-million-year-old polymorphism at an immunoglobulin variable region gene locus in the rabbit evolutionary lineage." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1999 Aug 17; 96 (17): 9710-5; and Halanych, K.M., and Robinson T.J. 1999. "Multiple Substitutions Affect the Phylogenetic Utility of Cytochrome b and 12S rDNA Data: Examining a Rapid Radiation in Leporid (Lagomorpha) Evolution." In: Journal of Molecular Evolution. 48: 369-379.
[5]. Rochambeaus, Thebault R. G. (1989) "Angora rabbit: breeding and genetics." In: Productions Animales, Vol. 2, N. 2, pp.145-154.
[6]. Detailed information about the spiritual values of individual tribes can be found in: Gill, S.D. Dictionary of Native American mythology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). See also: Hirschfelder, A.B. Encyclopedia of Native American religions: an introduction (New York: Facts on File, 2000).
[7]. In the twentieth century, dialogical philosophy found renewed impetus with Martin Buber, who published in 1923 the book I-Thou, in which he stated that humankind is capable of two kinds of relationship: I and Thou (reciprocity) and I-It (objectification). In I and Thou relations one fully engages in the encounter with the other and carries on a real dialogue. In I-It relations "It" becomes an object of control. The "I" in both cases is not the same, for in the first case there is a non-hierarchical meeting while in the second case there is detachment. See: Buber, M. I and Thou (New York: Collier, 1987).
[8]. Cognitive ethology can be defined as "the evolutionary and comparative study of nonhuman animal thought processes, consciousness, beliefs, or rationality, and is an area in which research is informed by different types of investigations and explanations." See: Bekoff, M. "Cognitive Ethology and the Explanation of Nonhuman Animal Behavior." In: Meyer, J. A., and Roitblat, H. L. (eds.) Comparative Approaches to Cognitive Science (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995), pp.119-150.
[9]. Buber, M. I and Thou (New York: Collier, 1987), p.124.
[10]. Bakhtin, M. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (Trans. Caryl Emerson, Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984), p.270.
[11]. Emile Benveniste, "Subjectivity in Language," chap. 21. In: Problems in General Linguistics (trans. Mary Elizabeth Meek, 1966; Coral Gables, Florida: Univ. of Miami Press, 1971), pp.223-230.
[12]. See: Maturana, H.R. "Biology of Language: The Epistemology of Reality." In: Miller, G. & Lenneberg, E. (eds.) Psychology and Biology of Language and Thought (New York: Academic Press, 1978), p. 47; Maturana, H.R. "The organization of the living: a theory of the living organization." In: The International journal of Man-Machine Studies, 1975, 7, pp.313-332.
[13]. Emmanuel Levinas wrote: "Proximity, difference which is non-indifference, is responsibility". See Levinas, E. Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (translated by Alphonso Lingis, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1981), p.139.
[14]. There are three types of cell: Prokaryotes, Eukaryotes, and Archae. Prokaryotes are unicellular organisms (e.g., bacteria) that lack a nuclear membrane and membrane-bound organelles. Eukaryotes are unicellular (e.g., yeast) or multicellular organisms (e.g., humans) that have a nuclear membrane surrounding genetic material and numerous membrane-bound organelles dispersed in a complex cellular structure. All cells in multicellular organisms are eukaryotic. Eukaryotes include most organisms (algae, fungi, protozoa, plants, and animals) except viruses, bacteria, and blue-green algae. Another major domain of life is called Archaea, microorganisms with genetic features distinct from prokarya and eukarya. The DNA of Archea is not contained within a nucleus. Many Archae live in harsh environments, such as thermal vents in the Ocean and hot springs. Most methane-producing bacteria are actually Archae.
[15]. Teleo-nomic means regulatory principle (nomic) guided by an objective or intention (teleo), without implying any vitalistic connotations. The term was coined by Colin Pittendrigh to suggest an evolved internal teleology, as distinct from an externally-imposed "teleology." For the concept of teleonomy, see: Pittendrigh, C. "Adaptation, natural selection, and behavior." In: Roe, A. and Simpson, G. G. Behavior and Evolution (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1958), pp.390-416.
[16]. On the question of the welfare of transgenic animals, see: Moore, C.J. and Mepham, T.B. (1995). Transgenesis and animal welfare. ATLA 23:380-397 and L.F.M. van Zutphen, M. van der Meer, (Eds.) Welfare Aspects of Transgenic Animals (New York: Springer, 1997).
[17]. By this I mean that the process was expected to be (and in fact was) as common as any other rabbit pregnancy and birth. This is due to the fact that transgenic technology has been successfully and regularly employed in the creation of mice since 1980 and in rabbits since 1985. See: Gordon, J.W., Scargos, G.A., Plotkin, D.J., Barbosa,
J.A. and Ruddle, F. (1980) "Genetic transformation of mouse embryos by microinjection of purified DNA." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77, 7380-7384; Hammer, R. E., Pursel, V. G., Rexroad, C. E., Jr., Wall, R. J., Bolt, D. J., Ebert, K. M., Palmiter, R. D., and Brinster, R. L. "Production of transgenic rabbits, sheep and pigs by microinjection." In: Nature 315, 680-683 (1985). The term transgenic was first used by J.W. Gordon and F. Ruddle in their 1981 paper. For additional information on expression of GFP in rabbits, see: Kang, T.Y., Yin, X. J., Rho, G.J., Lee, H., Lee, H J. "Cloning of transgenic rabbit embryos expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene by nuclear transplantation." In: Theriogenology. 53, no. 1, (2000): 222.
[18]. The zygote is the cell formed by the union of two gametes. A gamete is a reproductive cell, especially a mature sperm or egg capable of fusing with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce the fertilized egg. Direct microinjection of DNA into the male pronucleus of a rabbit zygote has been the method most extensively used in the production of transgenic rabbits. As the foreign DNA integrates into the rabbit chromosomal DNA at the one-cell stage, the transgenic animal has the new DNA in every cell. For detailed discussion of the methods and applications of microinjection technology, see: Lacal, J.C., Perona, R., and Feramisco, J. Microinjection (New York: Springer, 1999).
[19]. A lagomorph is one of the various gnawing mammals in the order Lagomorpha, including rabbits, hares, and pikas.
[20]. Krempels, D.M. "What Do Rabbits See?" In: House Rabbit Society: Orange County Chapter Newsletter 5, Summer 1996, p.1.
[21]. For a comprehensive examination of the approaches to animality within the Western tradition, and for a philosophical contribution towards a more respectful understanding of non-human animals, see: Fontenay, E. Le silence des betes (Paris: Fayard, 1998).
[22]. For a brief overview of the history of eugenics, see: Howell, J. D. "The History of Eugenics and the Future of Gene Therapy." In: Journal of Clinical Ethics 2(4): 274-278, Winter 1991. For a comprehensive critical history, see: Kevles, D.J. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).
[23]. See: Foucault, M. "The Birth of Biopolitics." In: Foucault, M. Ethics, the essential works I (ed. P. Rabinow, Volume One, London: Penguin, 1997), pp.73-79.
[24]. Here I use the word "symbolic" in the sense that the artwork is not just an entity to be regarded for its intrinsic and unique properties or just a pragmatic way of accomplishing a goal, but also (and always) a means of producing a world of understanding. My use of the word is partially motivated by Erwin Panofsky's application of Ernst Cassirer's Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (3 vol., 1923-29). See: Panofsky, E. Perspective as Symbolic Form (New York: Zone Books, 1991). On pages 40-41 Panofsky says that perspective is "one of those 'symbolic forms' in which 'spiritual meaning' is attached to a concrete, material sign and intrinsically given to this sign."


How to purchase this book



I. LABORATORY: science and technology

Svetlana Borinskaya. Genomics and Biotechnology: Science at the Beginning of the Third Millennium.

Mikhail Gelfand. Computational Genomics: from the Wet Lab to Computer and Back.

Irina Grigorjan, Vsevolod Makeev. Biochips and Industrial Biology.

Valery Shumakov, Alexander Tonevitsky. Xenotransplantation as a Scientific and Ethic Problem.

Abraham Iojrish. Legal Aspects of Gene Engineering.

Pavel Tishchenko. Genomics: New Science in the New Cultural Situation.
II. FORUM: society and genomic culture

Eugene Thacker. Darwin's Waiting Room.

Critical Art Ensemble. The Promissory Rhetoric of Biotechnology in the Public Sphere.

SubRosa. Sex and Gender in the Biotech Century.

Ricardo Dominguez. Nano-Fest Destiny 3.0: Fragments from the Post-Biotech Era.

Birgit Richard. Clones and Doppelgangers. Multiplications and Reproductions of the Self in Film.

Sven Druehl. Chimaera Phylogeny: From Antiquity to the Present.
III. TOPOLOGY: from biopolitics to bioaesthetics

Boris Groys. Art in the Age of Biopolitics.

Stephen Wilson. Art and Science as Cultural Acts.

Melentie Pandilovski. On the Phenomenology of Consciousness, Technology, and Genetic Culture.

Roy Ascott. Interactive Art: Doorway to the Post-Biological Culture.
IV. INTERACTION CODE: artificial life

Mark Bedau. Artificial Life Illuminates Human Hyper-creativity.

Louis Bec. Artificial Life under Tension.

Alan Dorin. Virtual Animals in Virtual Environments.

Christa Sommerer, Laurent Mignonneau. The Application of Artificial Life to Interactive Computer Installations.
V. MODERN THEATRE: ars genetica

George Gessert. A History of Art Involving DNA.

Kathleen Rogers. The Imagination of Matter.

Brandon Ballengee. The Origins of Artificial Selection.

Marta de Menezes. The Laboratory as an Art Studio.

Adam Zaretsky. Workhorse Zoo Art and Bioethics Quiz.
VI. IMAGE TECHNOLOGY: ars chimaera

Joe Davis. Monsters, Maps, Signals and Codes.

David Kremers. The Delbruck Paradox. Version 3.0.

Eduardo Kac. GFP Bunny.

Dmitry Bulatov. Ars Chimaera.

Valery Podoroga. Rene Descartes and Ars Chimaera.
VII. METABOLA: tissue culture and art

Ionat Zurr. Complicating Notions of Life - Semi-Living Entities.

Oron Catts. Fragments of Designed Life - the Wet Palette of Tissue Engineering.

Dmitry Prigov. Speaking of Unutterable.

Wet art gallery





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