Famous Forever

augustus 28th, 2008

Zatorski + Zatorski
Away from the Flock,

zatorski+zatorski Away from the flock

In Away from the Flock (2008) we peer into a Victorian bell jar and a still-born goat skull smiles back with a wry cheeky grin, its mouth bejeweled with a 22ct gold capped tooth.

Piero Golia
Maybe not even a Nation of Millions can hold us Back, 2003


piero golia

Complete skeleton with implanted diamond on the exact location where the (still living) artist has one as well.

Damien Hirst
For the love of God, 2007

damien hirst for the love of god

A 19th century human skull cast in platinum and encrusted with 8601 diamonds (weighing in at over 1100 carats). Price: $100 million

The human skull used as the base for the work, bought in a shop in Islington, is thought to be that of a European living between 1720 and 1810. The work’s title was supposedly inspired by Hirst’s mother, who once asked, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”

Chihuahua Footprints Discovered!

maart 10th, 2008


2008 AD, concrete sidewalk, Hollywood, USA

Smallest breed of dog, 15 cm/10 in high, developed in the USA from Mexican origins. It may weigh only 1 kg/2.2 lb. The domed head and wide-set ears are characteristic, and the skull is large compared to the body. It can be almost any colour, and occurs in both smooth (or even hairless) and long-coated varieties.

Body Double

november 13th, 2007

BEAVERTON, Oregon (CNN) — Oregon researchers say they have cloned a monkey by splitting an early-stage embryo and implanting the pieces into mother animals.

The technique has so far produced only one living monkey, a bright-eyed rhesus macaque female named Tetra, now 4 months old.

clone monkey 2 clone monkey 2

Tetra the monkey is different from Dolly the sheep, which was produced by Scientists at Scotland’s Roslin Institute using a process called nuclear transfer — taking the nucleus out of an adult cell and using it to reprogram an unfertilized egg.

Some scientists argue that animals like Dolly are not 100 percent clones because they have genetic material both from the adult cell they were taken from, and from the egg that is hollowed out to make the clone. Tetra was produced by a technique called “embryo splitting.” Here’s how it works:

* An egg from a mother and sperm from a father are used to create a fertilized egg.

* After the embryo grows into eight cells, researchers split it into four identical embryos, each consisting of just two cells.

* The four embryos are then implanted into surrogate mothers. Schatten said that in effect, a single embryo becomes four embryos, all genetically identical.

clone monkey drawing

In the case of their experiment, three of the embryos didn’t survive. The fourth, Tetra, was born 157 days later. Her name means “one of four.” Tetra isn’t the first monkey to be cloned, but she is the first using the embryo-splitting technique. More are on the way.

The Future Farm

september 27th, 2007

Alexis Rockman
The Farm, 2000

Alexis Rockman
oil and acrylic on wood panel, 96 x 120 in.
Courtesy of JGS, Inc.

‘My artworks are information-rich depictions of how our culture perceives and interacts with plants and animals, and the role culture plays in influencing the direction of natural history.

The Farm contextualizes the biotech industry’s explosive advances in genetic engineering within the history of agriculture, breeding, and artificial selection in general. The image, a wide-angle view of a cultivated soybean field, is constructed to be read from left to right. The image begins with the ancestral versions of internationally familiar animals, the cow, pig, and chicken, and moves across to an informed speculation about how they might look in the future. Also included are geometrically transformed vegetables and familiar images relating to the history of genetics. In The Farm I am interested in how the present and the future look of things are influenced by a broad range of pressures- human consumption, aesthetics, domestication, and medical applications among them. The flora and fauna of the farm are easily recognizable; they are, at the same time, in danger of losing their ancestral identities’.

cloned pigs

Five cloned piglets: Noel, Angel, Star, Joy and Mary
Born on Christmas Day 2001 in the US Scottish-based firm PPL Therapeutics

These are not the first pig clones, but PPL, a commercial offshoot of the Roslin Institute in Scotland, says the pigs are the first to be engineered in a way that should help prevent their tissues being rejected by the human body.
The animals’ biological make-up is slightly different from ordinary pigs. PPL says that it intends to use the pigs as part of its programme to seek a cure for humans suffering from diabetes.

Mice and Men

juli 31st, 2007

Bryan Crockett
Ecce Homo, 2000


marble and epoxy, 30 x 40 x 70 in.

Transgenics is the practice of transplanting genes from one species to another, thus creating genetic hybrids that can develop characteristics of both species. Consider what is happening with genetics. For instance, the oncomouse is the first patented transgenic lab mouse, engineered to have a human immune system for the purpose of oncology research. In this way, the practice of genetics can be understood as an analogy to the worlds of allegory and mythology. Like the Satyr or Minotaur, the oncomouse is the literalization of a clichÈ man/mouse. That is why I have chosen to reinterpret the ultimate figure of salvation, Christ, through the ultimate actor of contemporary science, the oncomouse. This sculpture is intended to be a monument to the test object of modern science, human kindís symbolic and literal stand-in personified. This human-scale, fleshy mouse, sculpted with the pathos of classical sculpture, stands in a gesture reminiscent of Christ revealing his wounds. Almost six feet tall he is nude (as is the oncomouse) and his flesh is a very convincing pale skin tone. Upon further inspection, however, one realizes the mouse/man is actually sculpted in flesh-colored marble. The lifelike sculpture and skin texture makes the sculpture oscillate between a living creature and a strong likeness, evoking the Pygmalion myth.


Back in 1997, a rather bizarre photograph suddenly became very famous. It showed a totally hairless mouse, with what appeared to be a human ear growing out of its back. That photograph prompted a wave of protest against genetic engineering, which continues today.

Follow the Green Rabbit

juli 26th, 2007

Eduardo Kac
GFP Bunny, 2000

Eduardo Kac green rabbit

“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). 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.

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. 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.
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. 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.

alba1 alba2

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 the present practical and conceptual boundaries of artmaking to incorporate life invention.

Eduardo Kac

‘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’.

Back to the Flock

juli 24th, 2007

Back to the flock, 2003


Jumper, umpicked, rolled into a ball and left in a field somewhere.

Damien Hirst
Away from the Flock, 1994

Damien Hirst


april 20th, 2007

Betty Chu


The color of rabbits is determined by 5 letters: A, B, C, D, E.
Wild rabbits carry color genetic make up of AABBCCDDEE which appear as chestnut agouti. Over thousands of years, mutations occured. In addition to all capital letters genes, some genes of lower letters and lower letters with subscripts show up. There are some rules to remember:

* The capital letter genes, in principle, are the dominant genes. The lower letter genes are recessive to the capital letter genes.
* A rabbit’s appearance is determined by the dominant gene, it may carry copies of recessive gene that we do not see.
* A sire and a dam with the appearances of all reccessive genes can not produce offsprings with dominant gene.
* The bunny will obtain one gene from the sire and one gene from the dam.


With the above in mind, I’ll discuss the ABCDE in 5 series, all the letter are arranged in the order of dominance.

1. A Series: determines Agouti (A) or non-agouti (at or a)
Chestnut Agouti picture of Chestnut Agouti
A stands for Agouti: Since A is dominant, all agouti patterned rabbit carries at least one A gene. Examples of Agouti colors are: chestnut agouti, chocolate agouti, chinchilla, opal, fawn, etc.
at stands for tan or marten pattern. Tan and marten pattern are not accepted in Angoras. It will not be discussed here.
a stands for non-agouti: a is recessive to A, that means an Agouti patterned rabbit may carry a gene but a non-agouti rabbit will not carry A gene. Examples of non-agouti colors are: black, blue, chocolate, lilac, tort, blue tort, pearl, … etc.

2. B Series: determines Black (B) or brown (b)
B stands for black. There are only two variations of black: black and blue. If a rabbit is a black or blue, the rabbit must carry at least a B. Whether it is a black or blue will be determined by the D series gene.
b stands for brown. In Angora, we call it chocolate. There are two variations of chocolate: chocolate and lilac. If the rabbit is chocolate and lilac, the rabbit must carry two b genes. b is recessive to B, so a chocolate or lilac rabbit can not carry B. Whether the rabbit is chocolate of lilac will be determined by the D series gene.


3. C Series: determines Colored (C), dark chin (cchd), sable (cchl), himi (ch) or Albino (c)
C stands for colored: Most of the regularly colored rabbits carry C. If you see a black, chocolate, chestnut agouti, tort, …. rabbit, you can be sure it carries at least a C gene. C is dominant of cchd, cchl, ch, c. The second gene may be a C or any one of the four lower letters.
cchd stands for dark chinchilla. Chinchilla is a colored rabbit but does not carry a C, sort of an exception to the rule. A special notation for the chin – gene is cchd, a chinchilla rabbit cannot carry C since cchd is recessive to the C gene. cchd is dominant of chl, ch and c, so the second letter to cchd may be cchd or any of cchl, ch and c. In order to get a chinchilla rabbit, it has to carry a A for agouti gene. If not, it may cause a non-agouti rabbit to have wrong eye color.
cchl stands for light chinchilla. It is more correct to think of it as a sable gene. If a rabbit carries cchl and combines with A, the color of the chin is muddy with brownish, reddish tinge- a very poor chin color. However, the sable color needs a brownish reddish tinge. cchl is the gene which makes the right color. Sable requires non-agouti a to be combined with cchl. If the rabbit carries two cchl, in Angora breed, it is called dark sable. If one cchl with ch or c, it is a regular or light sable. Both cchd and cchl rabbits do not carry the true color gene C, so some of the eye colors tend to have a ruby glow.
ch stands for himi or pointed white. ch gene covers the colors on the rabbit’s body and only allows the colors to show on the points. So the rabbit has all appearance of a white rabbit except the points. There is no color in the eyes. The eyes appeared to be pink, what we see is actually the blood vessals.
c: stands for albino. The appearance of the rabbit is ruby eye white. The rabbit may carry any of the genes in A, B, D, E series, but the cc genes act like a white sheet covering all other characteristics of the color genes. c is the most recessive in the C series. Breeding two ruby eye white rabbits will result in nothing but ruby eye white.

4. D Series: determines Dense color (D) or dilute color (d)
D stands for dense color. Black, chocolate, chestnut agouti are dense colors, the rabbit must carry at least one D gene.
d stands for dilute color. Blue, lilac, opal are dilute colors, the rabbit must carry two dd genes.

5. E Series: Es, E, ej, e
Es stands for steel. As a general rule, mutated genes are recessive to the original gene. Es is an exception to the rule. This is a mutation but takes dominance. Es acts differently from other genes – it modifies the color rather determines the color. I have not seen a steel English Angora in all my years of raising the breed. There are steel French and Satin Angoras. When combined with Agouti gene, it look like a very dark chestnut or wild grey agouti. The easy way to identify a steel is to look at the tummy. A chestnut or wild grey agouti has white or light color tummy, a steel has a dark tummy. When combined with a gene, it look like a black rabbit with brown hairs stick out – it is a disqualification.
E stands for extension. When a rabbit carries at least one E gene, the color of the rabbit extends from base to tip. Black, blue, chocolate, lilac, chestnut agouti, opal, chinchilla, …. all of these rabbits has extended colors.
ej stands for Japanese, not relevant to Angoras.
e stands for non-extension. Tort, blue tort, choc. tort, lilac tort, fawn, cream, pearl, all these rabbits have something in common: they are colored rabbits but the body color is different or lighter than the point color. They all carry two copies of non-extension gene ee. As a result the true color of these rabbits are not extended to the body, only the points carry the true color. Example, a tort is a black rabbit whose black color is not extended over its body.

The above is a very simplified version of basic color genetics. I did not cover red which requires rufus gene, broken which requires En gene and blue eye white which requires vv gene.

If there are color genetics experts out there shaking their heads when reading this article, please excuse me. Over the years, I found out that if I tried to use all the big and correct words in genetics to explain the basics, I got lost and most people got lost. When I use this method, I was able to help many of my fellow breeders to understand the basics and got interested in mapping out the color genetics of their own herd.

The Turning Point of Life

april 19th, 2007

Damien Hirst
Mother and Child, Devided, 1993

Damien Hirst

The impulses driving Damien Hirst’s work stem from dilemmas inherent in human life: ‘I am aware of mental contradictions in everything, like: I am going to die and I want to live for ever. I can’t escape the fact and I can’t let go of the desire’. The materials he uses often shock, but he says he ‘uses shock almost as a formal element . not so much to thrust his work in the public eye . but rather to make aspects of life and death visible’.

Fritjof Capra
The Systems View of Life, 1982
Chapter 8 of the “Turning Point”

As the notion of an independent physical entity has become problematic in subatomic physics, so has the notion of an independent organism in biology. Living organisms, being open systems, keep themselves alive and functioning through intense transactions with their environment, which itself consists partially of organisms. Thus the whole biosphere – our planetary ecosystem – is a dynamic and highly integrated web of living and nonliving forms. Although this web is multilevel, transactions and interdependencies exist among all its levels.

Most organisms are not only embedded in ecosystems but are complex ecosystems themselves, containing a host of smaller organisms that have considerable autonomy and yet integrate themselves harmoniously into the functioning of the whole. The smallest of these living components show an astonishing uniformity, resembling one another quite closely throughout the living world, as vividly described by Lewis Thomas.

Damien hirst
Damien Hirst I Want You Because I Can’t Have You, 1992

There they are, moving about in my cytoplasm…..They are much less closely related to me than to each other and to the free-living bacteria out under the hill. They feel like strangers, but the thought comes that the same creatures, precisely the same, are out there in the cells of seagulls, and whales, and dune grass, and seaweed, and hermit crabs, and further inland in the leaves of the beech in my backyard, and in the family of skunks beneath the back fence, and even in that fly on the window. Through them, I am connected: I have close relatives, once removed, all over the place.

Although all living organisms exhibit conspicuous individuality and are relatively autonomous in their functioning, the boundaries between organism and environment are often difficult to ascertain. Some organisms can be considered alive only when they are in a certain environment; others belong to larger systems that behave more like an autonomous organism than its individual members; still other collaborate to build large structures which become ecosystems supporting hundreds of species.
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maart 8th, 2006

Mark Dion
Ichthyosaurus, 2003


(pronounced IK-thee-oh-SAWR-us) Ichthyosaurus was an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile; it was not a dinosaur. This sleek animal could perhaps swim at speeds up to 25 mph (40 kph). Ichthyosaurus lived from the early Jurassic period until the early Cretaceous period, roughly 206 to 140 million years ago.
Anatomy: Ichthyosaurus was about 6.5 feet (2 m) long and ay have weighed about 200 pounds (90 kg). It had a tall dorsal fin, a half-moon-shaped tail, paddle-like flippers, and smooth skin. The nostrils were near the eyes on the top of the head. It had massive ear bones and large eyes, probably indicating that it had acute hearing and keen eyesight. These marine reptiles gave birth to live young.

Diet: Ichthyosaurus’ diet was mostly fish, but may have also included cephalopods (like straight-shelled belemnites).

Fossils: Hundreds of Ichthyosaurus fossils have been found in England, Germany, Greenland, and Alberta, Canada. Even fossilized dung (called coprolites) and fossilized skin impressions have been found. Ichthyosaurus, which means “fish lizard,” was named by Charles Koenig in 1818.