In discussing the Rabbit further, I would like to dive into a few different aspects discussed in class, including a rabbit’s relation to food, the pandemic, and the tiger that got tested for COVID-19, and how this communicates our relation to animals.
In last week’s meeting, we had a little taste of the Hox Zodiac: Genetic Games of Chance.
During lecture this week Professor Vesna introduced us to the topic of Chinese zodiac signs and related it to the homeobox gene. I found this gene quite interesting, as it is a selector gene that determines the fate of your cell. If you lose the HOX gene you have a transformation of segment identity. This transformation makes it possible for insects to have their antennas placed on their legs and vice versa. I thought this was really cool as it the manipulation of what you see can create a monster type version of a being.
I have been fascinated for a long time with the legend and traditions of the Chinese zodiac, and over the years I have paid attention to the animal signs of my family members. I was born in the year of the Dog, my sister and father are both Rats, and my mother is a Dragon. My interest did not often proceed any farther than beyond surface level, other than my arrogant assertion to my mother that Dogs and Dragons were not meant to get along.
Hox Zodiac Dinner gives new meaning to the adage, “you are what you eat,” on multiple levels. When you sit down at the table, you represent an animal from the zodiac, many of which humans regularly eat.
This past class was absolutely amazing! I have to admit, I have never enjoyed or paid attention to a class as much as I did last week. The topic alone was enough to grab my attention, but the fact that we were able to actually eat the food we were talking about made me even more attentive. I am confident I left class with a full stomach, and a semi full understanding of the Chinese zodiac signs.
To be honest, I was very confused by Professor Vesna’s email instructions asking us to come with information about our Chinese zodiac animal. My view of the class so far had me believe that the class was going to focus on how art can be based on science. This assignment, however, seemed to highlight an art piece based more on mythology and superstition than actual science. I was surprised when I came into class and saw Professor Vesna talking about the hox gene, a critical component in the body organizing process.
It's crazy how philosophies created thousands of years ago such as the Zodiac signs, Hindu folklore/traditions, and I-Ching philosophies are still applicable today. There seems to be a timeless nature to people, and a sort of balancing act with personalities and individualities. This same kind of balance is seem through different fields of study from art and science to math and humanities.
Let me begin by saying that I did not expect such an interesting bond between food and the Chinese zodiac signs. My initial curiosity for this unexpected relationship stemmed from the Chinese classic novel I Ching, which discusses the human body’s internal change in response to its environment. In particular, we mentioned the connection made between the sixty-four DNA codons and sixty-four Chinese character codes, or hexagrams. Interestingly, one version of manipulating our bodies’ external environments involves eating.
From Mick’s lecture last week, I realized that many bioart works are inspired by our incentives to interpret or visualize what living creatures other than the human being are thinking. And it does not matter whether we are able to really decipher the language of other living species. What bio artists are trying to do is to engage people to think about the presence of different forms of lives in a way that we have never thought about.
After attending the class for the first time last week, it is still difficult for me to grasp the idea of BioArt. In fact, with little artistic experience (fine arts or literary), the idea of using biotechnology in art is still strange to me – maybe just because I am not used to seeing them outside the lab context.
Joseph Beuys was an artist mentioned by Mick Lorusso during last week’s lecture. What struck me was the impact this artist made. Regarding his particular piece titled, How To Explain Pictures To A Dead Hare, he deals with processing the complex reflection of World War II, and its dark connotations.
Before I jump in to speak about the amazing lecture given by Mike Lorusso last week, I wanted to discuss a couple of connections I made from what I learned last week to the week previous to that. One of the more important things I wanted to address is the idea mentioned in last weeks readings about the limited number of bioart galleries/projects that are accessible to the public . Upon first reading about bioart, I immediately felt the need to share it with other people!