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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland

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Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

In this collaborative work between artist and theorist Suzanne Anker and art historian Sabine Flach, the study of image production unveils the reality of pictures beyond their function as mere representations of the world. The visuals range from firsthand accounts of specimen collections in historical medical museums, to scientific research laboratories, to studies of plant propagation, among other themes concerning life forms and Bio Art. Focusing on systems of artistic knowledge, the authors demonstrate how context, scale and framing devices alter meaning in pictorial systems. Somatic responses, classification networks and image banks are explored as they relate to intersections in visual art and the biological sciences.

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3. Appendix

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201 Mendell’s Meltdown Suzanne Anker 1 When we think of natural history, or the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin takes flush and unabridged patrilineage. On the other hand, to whom or what do we grace with our co-evolved unnatural history, a saga of hereditary linkage incorpo- rating, and tampered by, illusory manipulative strategies? This biological matrix is seduced, sautéed and sanctioned by reason as its main ingredient. Genetic engi- neering can be looked at as a colloidal mixture, suspending the commodification of the body with cyberreal ethics, where Frankenstein and The Terminator become the glorified residua of the cerebral imagination. In the name of fusion, we aptly combine seductive libidinal drive with its presumedly non-toxic mathematical and rhetorical other. Through the logic of biotech’s genetic engineering, and reprotech’s amnesia of ethical purpose, the reordering and redesigning of the future is figured in the ratio of even odds, speedily usurping destiny’s arrow for the perennial game of crapshoot. From transgenic species to germline alterations, from bio-rhythmic (dis)proportions, to anti-Classical taxonomies, we are being taken for more than a bit of a spin. Do we really need cigarettes that glow in the dark?2 For the artist, in contrast to the scientist, a chromosome is a little figure, a hair-like finger-puppet hard-wired to the species. A chromosome becomes “col- ored body,” whose name is derived from the laboratory technique of cell staining to reveal genetic matter under the microscope’s lens. When a chromosome is dis- assembled or broken...

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