Watercolor on paper, 36 x 51 cm

Shaping Our Genetic Futures

Paul Vanouse, America Project, 2016, spittoon and video projection.
Photo by Molly Renda, courtesy of the artist.

“There is a strange pleasure in the performance of DNA extraction, live in an art museum. To take materials from human volunteers who do so without the fear of identification, policing, or a potentially devastating medical diagnosis. It turns out that genetics are fun when we all do it together, sipping, swirling, and spitting into a weird and beautiful hybrid object. Through the America Project, the purpose of DNA extraction is suborned both by the intentional act of ‘promiscuous’ fluid mixing and the recontextualization of machine and scientific process into artistic expression.”

­—Helen J. Burgess, associate professor of English at North Carolina State University

Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Futures, organized by the NC State University Libraries, the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, elicited discussion about genetics in society through the lens of contemporary art and offered viewers new ways to think about their role in the genetic revolution.

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More details about the project and viewer responses can be found at the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NC State University.

Cite this Article

Issues, . “Shaping Our Genetic Futures.” Issues in Science and Technology 36, no. 2 (Winter 2020): 96.

Vol. XXXVI, No. 2, Winter 2020