Bio Art

Program 3 - Bio Art

available on Eduardo Kac: Telepresence, Bio Art & Poetry [1980-2010]

Time Capsule
1997, 02:44, Brazil/U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting the artwork Time Capsule. The piece approached the problem of wet interfaces and human hosting of digital memory through the implanting of a microchip. The work consisted of a microchip implant, seven sepia-toned photographs, a live television broadcast, a webcast, interactive telerobotic webscanning of the implant, a remote database intervention, and additional display elements including an X-ray of the implant. It was in the context of this work that Kac coined the term Bio Art. The piece was performed on November 11th, 1997, at Casa das Rosas, São Paulo, Brazil.


 1999, 01:01, Austria/U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting the transgenic artwork Genesis, which explores the intricate relationship between biology, belief systems, information technology, dialogical interaction, ethics, and the Internet. The piece presents a synthetic gene created by Kac (the artist’s gene) by translating a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis into Morse code, then converting it into DNA base pairs. The Genesis gene is incorporated into bacteria, and presented in the gallery space. Participants on the Web are able to turn on an ultraviolet light in the gallery, causing real biological mutations in the biblical sentence in the bacteria. The piece premiered at the O.K. Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria, from September 4th to September 19th, 1999.

GFP Bunny
2000, 03:59, France/U.S., color, sound, video

Video showcasing the public debate generated between 2000 and 2004 by Kac’s artwork GFP Bunny, centering on his green fluorescent bunny named Alba. Kac combined jellyfish and rabbit DNA to produce a bunny that glows green under blue light. The global resonance of GFP Bunny has led Kac to develop a series of works in a variety of media, including drawing, photography, print, painting, sculpture, animation, and digital media.

The Eighth Day
2001, 01:23, U.S., color, sound, video

Video presenting the transgenic artwork The Eighth Day, which brings together living fluorescent organisms created by the artist in a single environment. The work was shown from October 25th to November 2nd, 2001, at the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Move 36
2002-04, 02:10, U.S., color, sound, video

Video presenting the transgenic artwork Move 36, which explores the permeable boundaries between the human and the nonhuman, the living and the nonliving. The title refers to the dramatic chess move made by computer Deep Blue against world champion Gary Kasparov in 1997, in a chess match between the best player that ever lived and the best player that never lived. The work includes a plant, created by Kac especially for the work, that uses the universal computer code (called ASCII) to produce a Cartesian gene, that is, a translation of Descartes’ ontological statement “Cogito ergo sum.” The work was exhibited for the first time at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, from February 26th to May 31st, 2004.

Natural History of the Enigma
2003-08, 04:40, U.S., color, sound, video

Video presenting the artwork Natural History of the Enigma, which involves a new life form called plantimal (Edunia), a genetically engineered flower that is a hybrid of the artist and the petunia plant. The plantimal expresses Kac’s DNA exclusively in the red veins of the flower. The gene Kac selected is responsible for the identification of foreign bodies. In this work, it is precisely that which identifies and rejects the Other that the artist integrates into the Other, thus creating a new kind of self that is partially flower and partially human. The work was first exhibited from April 17th to June 21st, 2009, at the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis.