Prehistoric Pets

juni 26th, 2007


The tadpole shrimp (scientific name = Triops longicaudatus, which are in the order Notostraca in the class Branchiopoda) inhabits freshwater, ephemeral ponds ranging from the southern regions of western Canada, through the United States and into Central and South America. Triops translates in Latin to three eyes and longicaudatus refers to the elongated abdomen and associated structures. Two genera (Triops [formerly Apus] and Lepidurus) constitute nine to twelve species within the Notostraca taxa. Triops is distinguished from Lepidurus by the absence of an anal plate. Fossil records indicate that these crustaceans evolved over 350 million years ago during the Devonian period and have remained relatively unchanged in external morphology. The persistence of these taxa during several geological extinctions may be related to the ability to remain in embryonic stasis for several decades.

triops 2

Populations of Triops are comprised of males and hermaphrodites, with wide variation in the numbers of both sexual types. Most populations have many more hermaphrodites than males, and in some ponds, no males are found at all. The hermaphrodites can fertilize their own eggs, or can mate with a male. The fertilized eggs are called “cysts” or “resting eggs,” and can be dried for several years to decades before being hatching when rehydrated. In this cyst form, Triops can withstand extremes of heat and cold. (This is why they can be sold in plastic bags in novelty stores!) The eggs are carried by the hermaphrodites in small “brood pouches” located on two of their swimming appendages (about half-way down the length of the body, on the left and right sides). The eggs are either white or pinkish in color, and are carried in these pouches for between 12 and 24 hours before being laid in the ponds. The Triops have two large mandibles that they use for grinding up both live and dead food items. They eat plants, other animals, and sometimes even each other.

triops drawing

Modern Taxonomy

mei 15th, 2007

Jeroen Kuster
Symbos dorcas, 2005

Jeroen Kuster

Already from a young age Jeroen Kuster (1971) has developed a craze for everything what is part of the animal world. He is especially curious to how an animal has been build and what structures are to be seen. Kuster collected skulls since he was 12 and analysed about five hundred animals already. A remarkable hobby which resulted in valuable knowledge of the inner spirit of every separate animal. He plays God and recreates new species as he sees fit. Everything originates from his fantasy combined directly with his anatomical knowledge. He frequently uses everyday materials, like plastic spoons and other inorganic construction materials to build his own fictitious taxonomy. Within the universe of Kuster the animals carry biological names which find were their origin in the Systema Naturae of Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the founder of the modern taxonomy.

Symbos ovibos lervia
, 2005
Jeroen Kuster 2

Taurulus Surmuletus
, 2004
Jeroen Kuster 3

Nematocera Hystrix
, 2005
Jeroen Kuster 4

Mammoth Clone: Science, or Simply Fiction?

april 28th, 2007


Bill Gasperini

The idea of cloning a mammoth is just a fantasy,” says biologist Ross MacPhee, an expert on the giant fauna of the last ice age and chairman of the American Museum of Natural History’s mammalogy department. Alex Greenwood, a molecular biologist who studies ice age extinctions (and a colleague of MacPhee’s in New York), agrees: “I am really stunned,” he says, “that there are scientists still pushing this idea.” MacPhee, who has worked extensively with the Jarkov mammoth in Siberia, and Greenwood say that making an exact copy of a species that died off 10,000 years ago is possible only in science fiction movies.

The main reason is simple: To have any chance at a successful cloning, scientists must start with pristine, complete DNA. But even in cold environments, cells quickly break down after an organism dies; entropy occurs, and bacteria and certain enzymes latch onto or destroy cellular material. All the DNA found from long-extinct animals (even those remains found in the Siberian permafrost) has been incomplete and fragmented.

“If freezing is done under special conditions, such as in a modern laboratory, cells with their genetic material can be preserved indefinitely,” explains Russian scientist Alexei Tikhonov. “But conditions out in the permafrost are far from perfect.” Tikhonov has worked with the best-preserved mammoth ever found, a baby mammoth carcass pulled from a construction site in 1977. Nicknamed “Dima,” the small calf still had its skin and looked like it could have died just days earlier. But it probably fell into a mud pit and died quickly 44,000 years ago. Dima now rests in Tikhonov’s institute in St. Petersburg. Studies have shown that proteins in Dima’s cells were seriously modified after death, and that other substances common in living tissues (such as phosphorous) disappeared entirely.

Cloning is only possible when the nucleus taken from a living cell (such as with Dolly the sheep) is placed into an egg from which the original nucleus has been removed. This substitute nucleus, with its DNA, proteins and other crucial material completely intact, was what controlled the development of Dolly. Injecting fragments of DNA into a cell without a nuclear transfer would not result in a clone. Greenwood explains it this way: “If I throw all the parts needed to make a car down the stairs of a building, I will not have a Porsche 911 in the stairwell when they land.”

Ryuzo Yanagimachi, a scientist in Hawaii who has successfully cloned mice and other small mammals, says he would like to clone a mammoth. But he agrees that this could happen only if intact DNA is ever recovered from a long-dead mammoth. In recent years, a Japanese team has mounted several expeditions into Russia’s far north with the expressed aim of trying to bring a mammoth back to life. The team’s main intent is to recover frozen sperm from a mammoth and then use it to impregnate a female elephant, the mammoth’s closest living relative. But Greenwood and MacPhee say this is equally problematic, even on the off-chance that intact sperm DNA from a mammoth could ever be found. “Mammoths and elephants have been separated by about 4 (million) to 6 million years of evolution,” says Greenwood. “This would be like crossbreeding a human and a chimp and expecting to have a successful generation of a hybrid.”

Is it possible that in the march of time and scientific advance, technologies may be developed that will allow extinct creatures to be cloned? Or, someday, may a perfectly intact chain of mammoth DNA be found? According to MacPhee, such questions remain too tough to answer. “There isn’t even a direction we can point to,” he says, “which would indicate whether cloning extinct animals will ever be possible.”

© 2005 Discovery Communications Inc.


Baby Mammoth discovered in Siberia in 2007

Eric Adler
Cloning a Better Tomorrow


Spiders on Speed

april 23rd, 2007

spider web
Normal spider web

In the 1960s, Dr. Peter Witt gave spiders various kinds of drugs and alcohol to observe the effects on their webs. The results were pretty interesting.
In 1995, NASA scientists seeking to measure toxicity relationships examined the webs of spiders dosed with various chemicals. Their experiments have shown that common house spiders spin their webs in different ways according to the psychotropic drug they have been given. Nasa scientists believe the research demonstrates that web-spinning spiders can be used to test drugs because the more toxic the chemical, the more deformed was the web.
(Source: Noever, R., J. Cronise, and R. A. Relwani. 1995. Using spider-web patterns to determine toxicity. NASA Tech Briefs 19(4):82. Published in Britain’s New Scientist magazine, 27 April 1995.)

spider speed

* Those on Benzedrine – “speed” – spin their webs “with great gusto, but apparently without much planning leaving large holes”, according to New Scientist magazine.

spider marijuana

* Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through.

spider caffeine

* Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed by Britons in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random.

spider sleeping pills

* On chloral hydrat, an ingredient of sleeping pills, spiders “drop off before they even get started”.


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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Darwins Nightmare

april 13th, 2007

©Mike Mosedale

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a pivotal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book’s full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of biology. Darwin’s book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and added to through continuing investigations and experiments since his return.

Theory in a nutshell

Darwin’s theory is based on key observations and inferences drawn from them:

1. Species have great fertility. They make more offspring than can grow to adulthood.
2. Populations remain roughly the same size, with modest fluctuations.
3. Food resources are limited, but are relatively stable over time.
4. An implicit struggle for survival ensues.
5. In sexually reproducing species, generally no two individuals are identical.
6. Some of these variations directly impact the ability of an individual to survive in a given environment.
7. Much of this variation is inheritable.
8. Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce, while individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce.
9. The individuals that survive are most likely to leave their inheritable traits to future generations.
10. This slowly effected process results in populations that adapt to the environment over time, and ultimately, after interminable generations, the creations of new varieties, and ultimately, new species.

Koen Vanmechelen
The Cosmopolitan Chicken, 2000

Koen Vanmechelen

The Cosmopolitan Chicken is the world-wide breeding project by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) to which the cross-breeding of different national chicken races is central and crucial. The cross-breeding as the quintessence of the dynamic, fertile and creative life and of the peaceful living together of different races.

The story officially starts in 2000, in the Flemish village of Watou, at the boarder between Belgium and France. As his participation at the exhibition ‘Storm Centers’, curated by Jan Hoet, Koen Vanmechelen has cross-bred the Belgian chicken “Mechelse Koekoek” (cuckoo of Malines) with the French pride “Poulet de Bresse”.
The descendants of this crossing, named “Mechelse Bresse’s” were consecutively and at their turn cross-bred with the typical English chicken ‘English Redcap’; this happened in 2000 too at the group show ‘A Shot in the Head’ at Lisson Gallery, London.
In 2001, at Deweer Art Gallery in Otegem (B) a one-man show entitled “Between natural breeding and genetic enginering” was presented with the descendants of the cross-breeding between the “Malinese Bresse’s” and the “English Redcap”, thus called “Mechelse Redcap”.
After that, the “Malinese Redcap” was cross-bred with the American chicken “Jersey Giant”: in real at the artist’s studio in Meeuwen (B) and ‘artificially’ (i.e. in the form of a transparent glass chicken) at the Miami Art Fair, USA. The “Mechelse Giant’ was the subject of an installation presented at the exhibition “3 FEB 2002”, curated by Edith Doove, at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle (B).
The “Malinese Giant” was at his turn cross-bred with the German “Dresdner Huhn”, a fully German hen (the race was made to remember the bombing of Dresden). This cross-breeding too happened at the studio of the artist. Most stunning is the fact that the cross-breeding of the Dresdner cock with the Malinese Giant hen procreated only male chicks!
In the spring of 2003 the cross-breeding of the “Mechelse Dresdner” with the Dutch hen “Uilebaard” (Owlbeard) effected two exhibitions in Amsterdam. First there was the exhibition “Koen Vanmechelen – “Cosmopolitan Chicken Project – Mechelse Dresdner – The Desire” at the De Brakke Grond, which was meant as an appeal to Dutch institutions to patron the cross-breeding of the Malinese Dresdner with the Dutch Owlbeard. The exhibition resulted in the acceptance of the GEM – the museum for contemporary art of The Hague to patron the cross-breeding with the Dutch hen and in the presentation of the “Mechelse Owlbeard”, the sixth generation of the Cosmopolitan Chicken at the KunstRAI in Amsterdam. Due to the influenza aviaria disease that at that time struck both Holland and Belgium the 2 exhibitions in Amsterdam were set up without living animals.
In September 2003 Koen did a second one-man show at Deweer Art Gallery, entitled “Koen Vanmechelen – Cosmopolitan Chicken Project – Second Generation: Mechelse Bresse – Sex & Mortality”. It was an exhibition about the now naturally dying out first and second generations of the “Cosmopolitan Chicken Project”, and about the off-spring of life in general.
In November 2003 Koen Vanmechelen undertook a second expedition to Nepal to study the Bankiva hen, the so-called ‘primal chicken’, from which all domesticated chickens descend.
In the mean time the cross-breeding of the Malinese Owlbeard with the Mexican “Louisiana” was organised in Meeuwen to originate the “Mechelse Louisiana”.
In his current installation for “ECLiPS / 25 Years Deweer Art Gallery “ at Transfo Zwevegem Koen Vanmechelen brings forward a Malinese Owlbeard cock in surveillance of thousands of fresh eggs.

Obviously, “The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project ” is a project with a high metaphorical value that touches a lot of contemporary social issues such as genetic manipulation, cloning, globalisation, multiraciality, multicultural society etc.
Although the artist has a lot of inspiring contacts with the medical and scientific world, “The Cosmopolitan Chicken” has found its ideal setting in the art world.
From the project spring an endless series of works, such as great chicken portraits, drawings, installations, stuffed chickens, story boards, videos etc.

Together with Dr Ombelet, a gynaecologist, the artist publishes “The Walking Egg”, an English magazine in which ethicists, philosophers and scientists debate about all sorts of procreation items. Koen Vanmechelen joins in with artistic reflecNons. The Cosmopolitan Chicken has nothing to do with cloning, but it goes without saying that the artist follows with great interest and attention those congresses. “The chicken wants to be in the middle of natural breeding and genetic manipulation” he says. “We should never forget the natural breeding. It is full of surprises”.

Koen Vanmechelen

Kinetic Skeletons

maart 25th, 2007

Theo Jansen
Animaris Percipiere, 2004

theo jansen

Theo Jansen is an artist and kinetic sculptor living and working in Holland. He builds large works which resemble skeletons of animals which are able to walk using the wind on the beaches of the Netherlands. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering. In a BMW television commercial, Jansen says “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.”

theo jansen

Jansen is dedicated to creating artificial life through the use of genetic algorithms. These programs simulate evolution inside their code. Genetic algorithms can be modified to solve a variety of problems including circuit design, and in the case of Theo Jansen’s creations, complex systems. Some measure of “fitness” is introduced into the algorithm; in Theo’s case it is to survive on the beach while moving around within two enclosing lines on the wet sand near the ocean, and the dry sand at the edge of the beach. Those designs best at the assigned task within the modeled beach environment are bred together and graded again. Over time complex designs emerge which sprout wings and flap in the breeze pressurizing what look like plastic 2 liter soda bottles. Articulated legs sprout and scuttle across the sand like those of a crab. Theo uses plastic electrical conduit to make some of the computer’s most promising designs. He then lets them roam free on the beach, measures their success, and updates his model.

Watch them move on video

Interview with Theo Jansen

Smart by nature

maart 22nd, 2007

A Beukers & E v Hinte, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam.
Lightness; the inevitable renaissance of minimum energy structures.

Cyber Frog By Terrence for the Cybergenics 7 contest.

There is a duality between engineering and nature which is based on minimum use of energy. This is because animals and plants, in order to survive in competition with each other, have evolved ways of living and reproducing using the least amount of resource. This involves efficiency both in metabolism and optimal apportionment of energy between the various functions of life. A similar situation obtains with engineering, where cost is usually the most significant parameter. It seems likely, then, that ideas from nature, suitably interpreted and implemented, could improve the energy efficiency of our engineering at many levels. This transfer of technology, variously called bionics, biomimetics or biognosis, should not be seen so much as a panacea for engineering problems as a portfolio of paradigms. Read the rest of this entry »


maart 21st, 2007

Design inspired by nature. Biomimetics is the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces natural systems to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (the lotus effect). Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of dolphins; sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats; and the arch imitating the spinal column. In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced artificial neurons, artificial neural networks, and swarm intelligence.

robotic scorpion

For decades, scientists have looked to scorpions and other eight- and six-legged creatures for inspiration. Imagine a creature that can withstand extreme termperatures-from below freezing to a brutal 120 degrees F- and survive in almost any environment on earth. Scorpions are among the best-adapted animals in the world. Now imagine a creature that can mow your lawn, vacuum your living room, guard a museum, build a car and explore the surface of Mars all without oxygen or food. Combine the best features of these animals and the technology of science and you can understand how scientists have been using robots designed after scorpions for years.

Bacteriologic symbiosis

januari 31st, 2007

Jelte van Abbema
Symbiose, 2006


Printed media can create a harmful impact to the environment. Solutions like soy ink and natural pigments are a better alternative, but Jelte van Abbema takes this approach even further. His fascination for nature allows him to investigate the possibilities of bacteria in a visual culture. To stay within scientific guidelines, he completed a course at the department of microbiology at the University of Wageningen. The result is a radical concept within printed media in that the image is still materializing when it rolls off the press. By converting a bus stop poster box (manufactured by JCDecaux) with controlled conditions, van Abbema creates an environment for his print to thrive. With time, the bacteria transform and begin to shape their own aesthetics and dimensions by growing over their printed boundaries.

Embryonic Section Paintings

december 4th, 2006

paraxial mesoderm, 1992

agar, x-gal, iptg, neutral red n-2880, ecoli tb-1, synthetic resin on acrylic plate
24 x 24 inches

david kremers 1


given evolution as a step of physiology based intelligence.
method paintings are grown on plates of clear acrylic using bacteria genetically engineered to produce enzymes of various colors after maturation, the plates are dried and sealed in a synthetic resin the figurative subjects are chosen from embryonic structures common to all mammals.
q e d life is organization rather than substance. consciousness is inherent in the way molecules are organized, not in the substance of the molecules themselves.

visceral arch, 1992

gesso, eosin y, agar, x-gal, iptg, ecoli tb-1, plasmid, alizarin red-s, synthetic resin on acrylic plate
24 x 24 inches

David Kremers 2

‘in 1992 i began growing paintings from bacteria on plates of clear acrylic, using bacteria that was genetically engineered to produce enzymes of various colors. itís like painting on a piece of ice with melted snow. after eighteen hours in an incubation chamber the image grows into the shapes and colors the bacteria and i have collaborated on. the plates are then dried and sealed in a synthetic resin. future conservators, a millenium away, may remove the resin, feed the bacteria, and continue the life of the work. the figurative subjects were chosen from early embryonic structures common to all mammals. evolution as a step of physiology-based intelligence’.

Alien Invesive Species

oktober 18th, 2006


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.


Japanese Golfball Eggs

februari 25th, 2006

Oology is the branch of zoology that deals with the study of eggs, especially birds’ eggs. It can also be applied to the hobby of collecting wild birds’ eggs (which is now illegal in many jurisdictions). Oology includes the study of the breeding habits of birds, and the study of their nests. (The study of birds’ nests is sometimes called caliology).
Birds’ eggs are conveniently classified as marked or unmarked, according to the ground color. Birds which lay their eggs in holes in trees or in the ground almost always have white, unspotted eggs. Birds which build in trees generally have blue or greenish eggs, either spotted or unspotted, while birds that build in bushes, near the ground, are likely to lay speckled eggs.

Guillaume Bijl
‘Sorry’, 1987 (15cm x 8cm x 15cm)

Guillaume Bijl

Maarten Vanden Eynde
Genetologic Research Nr. 17, 2004 (16cm x 20cm x 16cm)

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology nr.17