THE TRANSGENIC BUNNY BY EDUARDO Essay Example
About Artist Eduardo Kac
Eduardo Kac is an American modern-day artist globally known for his bio art. He was born in 1962 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kac developed a career in performance art in the early 1980s, presenting a number of weekly public shows. He began his career as a traditional performance artist but later on progressed to explore technology artistically through an exploration of poetry.
Kac moved to Chicago in 1989 to pursue his studies at the School of Art Institute of Chicago where earned a masters degree in fine arts in the following year. He is currently a Ph.D. research associate at the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Arts at the University of Wales and an assistant lecturer (professor) of art and technology at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kac has exhibited his art works extensively all over Europe, North and South America, and has received many awards including the Leonardo Award for Excellence in 1998 (Da Costa and Philip,2008).
A Description of Transgenic Bunny ‘’ Alba’’ by Eduardo
Alba, Transgenic the bunny
The Transgenic Bunny is one of the transgenic artworks done by Eduardo Kac in collaboration with scientists Patrick Prunet, Louis-Marie Houdebine and artist Louis Bec at the National Institute of Agronomic Research in France during the year 2000.It is a transgenic albino rabbit reared in a laboratory. Named Alba by Kac and his family, the transgenic rabbit is can be described as a unique piece of artwork based on its creation and the meanings it brings about (Kratz, 2010).
The creation of Alba was done by injecting florescent protein that is green in colour. The florescent protein was gotten from a jellyfish. Alba only glows bright green when exposed to a special blue light. Many pictures of the bunny indicate that when the rabbit glows it displays a green appearance. However the truth of the matter is that only the inside parts of the eyes, ears and nose have the ability to glow due to the fact that their cells are dead .At any other particular time she is usually not similar to a regular rabbit. A small change that is done to her genetics leads to making her completely different from the normal rabbits (Kratz, 2010).
Kac had the objective of displaying Alba using three difference phases. The initial phase was to create the glowing bunny that is why he needed the help of the French geneticists. The second phase was that the now living bunny; Alba was to be displayed to the society, in order for the society to clearly see the truth behind the glowing rabbit. The third step was for Kac to take Alba home to his family and rare the rabbit in a caring and loving environment. The third step is the performance art part. Kac says that Alba was created as an art work but not as breeding project. As a result as an animal it is supposed to be accepted into the society and raised with care and love (Kac 2005).
Alba is an artistic work created as a living and breathing animal due to a variety of reasons. What one can observe from the bunny is that a person can develop emotional attachment to the bunny just as any cute rabbit. However when evaluating the truth of the matter there are so many unnatural factors in the rabbit such as glowing only when exposed to a special blue light. The unnatural factors are mainly linked to genetic modification (Kratz, 2010). As much as people would want to develop emotional attachment to Alba, it is a creation that is unnatural. The final stage of the Alba’s life was to socialize the bunny, which was aimed at demonstrating that even genetically modified animals can have a cognitive and emotional life however this step failed (Kac 2005).
Alba raises the idea of the very nature of life. It crosses the boundary that exists between science and art, but at the same time it challenges the ethical values and belief systems that occur through the processes of genetic medication of organism. As Alba soaks under the sunshine warm, she chews on the pieces of fresh grass, as her fur spikes and ears perk and she hops slowly from one place to the other, she looks just like a regular rabbit fluffy with pink eyes, however Alba is far away from that normal household pet, she is a scientific marvel, a work of art and an endless contentious topic. A significant aspect about Alba is that of her acceptance and interaction into the society, which also raises the question about the future implications and value of transgenic pets (Kac 2005).
So far, Alba has not shown any signs of health problems, furthermore she is growing up just like a normal bunny. Her personality and her usual appearance brings about a new view point about animals and the way the society perceives them. Kac clearly confirmed in his transgenic art manifesto that one of the major goals of the Alba project was to demonstrate that transgenic animals could, and ought to be integrated into the society. The Bunny was therefore brought to life to act as a catalyst for the global debate in relation to the genetic engineering. However, according to Kac (2005), he used the Transgenic Bunny as a social marker, in a representational (symbolic) manner to bring about questions regarding how the society views the idea of difference. Kac intended to demonstrate that transgenic art does not involve only the creation of mutant, hybrid creatures as objects (Plohman, 2000).
Kac’s artwork; Alba stresses the urgency of coming up with a critical as well as a well-informed response to technological advancements taking place around the world. The apparent sensationalism of Kac’s artworks draws attention to significant issues explored by Kac’s artworks and stimulates global debate as regards the implications of genetic engineering. By not taking a position either for, or against genetic modification, Kac invites people to look at the complexity of issues at hand. The main message of Kac’s artwork is that of concern. His artwork seeks out to remind us that humankind has to assume responsibility for their actions and creations.
Da Costa, B & Philip, K. (2008).Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience, MIT Press.
Kratz, S.J. (2010).Transformative Transgressions: Biotechnology, Personal Experience, Ethics and Art. International Journal of Creative
Media.Vol2, (1 ).
Kac, E. (2005).Telepresence & Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits, & Robots: Studies in Literature and Science, University of Michigan Press.
Plohman, A. (2000).Eduardo Kac, GFP Bunny, Retrieved on September 2, 2011 from http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=279
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