Eduardo Kac
Genesis, 1999-2003

Eduardo Kac Genesis

Transgenics is a field of biomedical research transforming the use of test animals. It involves the genetic modification, cloning, and breeding of animals for specific use in testing. It can involve the production of specific cell matter via breeding and DNA recombination, so future tests can be conducted on cells alone without a living host. Transgenecists often computer clone the cells and conduct their research via electronic simulation, so that researchers in labs around the world can be involved in team experiments taking place in real-time.

To create the key element of his work “Genesis,” bioartist Eduardo Kac translated a sentence from the book of Genesis into Morse code and converted the code into DNA base pairs according to a conversion principle he specially developed for the work.

“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, the Bible)

He then implanted the resulting “artist’s gene” into an unspecified bacteria, placed it in a Petri dish and allowed online viewers to cause—through the use of ultraviolet light—real, biological mutations in the bacteria. This action changed the biblical sentence in the bacteria as well, leading Kac to declare on his web site:

“The ability to change the sentence is a symbolic gesture: it means that we do not accept its meaning in the form we inherited it and that new meanings emerge as we seek to change it.”

Do you want to play God? Go to: