Mendell’s Meltdown: Suzanne Anker
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 incorporating, and tampered by, illusory manipulative strategies? This biological matrix is seduced, sautéed and sanctioned by reason as its main ingredient. Genetic engineering 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 “colored 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 disassembled or broken down into its prime molecular units,...
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