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How Artists Annotate Genomes


At the opening of Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, Eric Lander, the director of the Whitehead Center for Genome Research at MIT, compared scientists’ struggle to annotate the human genome with artists’ struggle to make meaning of it.

Suzanne Anker, who sculpted the exact replicas of chimpanzee, gorilla, oran-gutan, and gibbon chromosomes shown here, is one of 39 artists whose work examines “the meaning and urgent implications of dramatic breakthroughs in genetic research.” Anker, chair of the art history department at New York’s School of Visual Arts, says that seen through the beaker, her piece, Zoosemiotics (Primates), “shows that what you’re seeing can be interpreted in different ways, and that the only way we know this information is through an instrumentalized vision.”

Paradise Now runs through October 28 at Exit Art, 548 Broadway, New York.

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