this work has it's own website: [link]
Media: Styrene, Latex rubber, Polyurethane Foam, Kryolan SFX Make-up
Microchips, Motors, Printed circuits, Steel, Acrylic Plastic, Creatix paint, Paper
Acetate, Fimo, Sculpy, Video, 3DS Max4, Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Adobe Indesign.
Process Mediums: (molds + original sculptures)
Silicon rubber, Hydrocal Plaster, Clay, Roma Plastalina.
Scale: (each package) 298 x 244 x 76 mm, 11.8 x 9.5 x 3 inches
1. First off, everything's done from scratch, by hand. The plastics, circuitry, robotics, creatures, all of it. From clay to mould, to casting. No large or expensive machines, just blood and sweat. Check the How-to page if youíre curious.
2. Secondly Iím not against bioengineering, Iím simply hesitant towards where and how and by whom the technology will be used. Thatís what this art sums up. Read on if youíre curious.
I donít ever want to be confused for as a crazy activist, nor do I want to appear as endorsing this technology. Bioengineering could lead to medical breakthroughs that save lives, but will it? This is more a critique of corporate ethics than of technological ethics.
What are Genpets? I don't know. You tell me.
Genpets seems to create a reaction wherever they go. While in the store window of Iodine Toronto, the shop owner began sleeping in the store at night for security reasons.
Many nights, people would bang at the windows furiously. Some in protest of the small Bio-genetically engineered creatures trapped in plastic, some wanting to wake them up or buy them. Hordes of teens wanting a bioengineered pet met confused, baffled, or even shocked looks from parents.
Some Parents even caught on to see where things were leading. That while something like this bothered them, it did not bother their children. For an upcoming generation, through our own marketing techniques, life has become a disposable commodity.
Itís easier to dismiss Genpets as a hoax or exaggeration when youíre not faced with a wall of them. The experience of a grainy photo is different than standing face to face with a breathing, sleeping creature.
The question surrounding bioengineering is not in it's positive or negative ramifications, or where it can take us; it is whether or not we are ready to go there.
Artist Statement (V1.3)
"In 1985, the US Patents and trademarks Office (PTO) affirmed the legal precedent, ruling that genetically engineered plants, seeds and plant tissue could all be patented"1. Today, agricultural crops are being modified and organisms with built-in obsolescence are being sold as commodities. Life itself is quickly becoming a processed commodity in the privatization of nature. Biological engineering by large companies, outside of nature has become a terrifying reality for my generation to contend with.
Today, we are well within the process of desensitizing an upcoming generation towards accepting bioengineering as ďnaturalĒ. I see this generation slowly and systematically being desensitized towards owning and manipulating life through toys such as Tamagotchis, and Furbies. Toys that mimic living creatures but carry no weight of responsibility with them. Individually these objects are harmless, however when analysing the trends in consumption on a larger scale, we can see that with every new toy the envelope is pushed a little further. Bioengineered pets could not have been acceptable yesterday, but they are today. Boundaries have been eroded.
I fear that this is leading us onto a dangerous path of objectifying living matter even more than we do so today and Genpets is my interpretation of how such a relationship would look. We have artificially separated ourselves from nature and refer to the organic as 'product'.
Any new technology can bring with it both positive and negative ramifications. However we must ask questions every step of the way. I see how we treat the life already surrounding us that we have no moral claim over and I fear for any life brought into the world through the act of genetic manipulation; Life that would inherently have patented DNA. It would not be far fetched to assume that any such creation would have no rights of its own and be subject to whatever treatment deemed necessary upon it. Whether by testing, or packaging, this life would be a commodity of less value than any we have today. Genpets is meant to ask questions about a great deal of issues by providing a tangible example of a possible future.
*1 (Science, Seeds and Cyborgs, pg93)
Here's a link to how I made it. incase you're curious [link]
Props to Crystal Pallister [link]
She did the makeup effects on the creatures. she also helped me cut and refine the plastics on our second date.