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Visible Human Bodies

The series of images titled visible human bodies has been developed during a residency in the Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory at The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne. The images are photographs of living drawings, made using different bacteria grown on nutrient agar in petri dishes. After the drawing is completed, the bacteria cultures are then incubated in an environment conducive to growth for several days. In this work I am interested in exploring issues of the body and self, pursuing them as a fluid and evolving concept in a collaborative process with life itself. Popular culture offers futuristic scenarios for manipulating and controlling the human body using biotechnological tools. In the series visible human bodies I have used the human figure symbolically to reflect on fears of biotechnology. How will we be able to re-engineer and transform the human body in the future? Tissue engineering and genetics offer two different approaches for transforming the human body. Tissue engineering techniques make it possible to grow discrete body parts such as skin, pancreases and breasts external from the human body. Geneticists have cracked the genetic code on us implying that the human body is as easily manipulated as a computer network. If it became possible to re-program the genetic material contained within human germ cells (sperm, egg or embryonic cells) this would have an affect on the evolution of the entire human species. In the future how will biotechnology influence our relationships with our bodies?


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