August 22, 2005
MASS MoCA's Panel Explores Trends in Transgenics
(North Adams, Mass.)-- From the cloning of Dolly the sheep to splicing human DNA onto animals, it has been said that the next century in science will focus on biology and the manipulation of the human genome, areas of inquiry offering the promise of grandiose benefits, and the risk of horrific abuses. In association with MASS MoCA's Becoming Animal exhibition, artists, scientists, and activists alike will examine the potential opportunities and dangers of manipulating the natural world in a conversation on Thursday, September 22, at 7:30 P.M. The Mutants talk will feature visual artist Kathy High, currently participating in Becoming Animal, as well as Lori Andrews, Adam Zaretsky, and Dr. Alka Chandna. These experts will provide a startling glimpse into what the future might hold. Zaretsky and High's projects straddle the line between science and art. These artists believe that no matter how many restrictions are placed on the practice of science, biotechnology and bioengineering will transform life as we know it. They use the tools of science as their medium to create ever more ambitious living works à la Dr. Moreau.
Kathy High is an artist in the Becoming Animal exhibition and chair of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's IEAR program. Her work has been shown internationally, and her project Embracing Animal explores the lives of genetically altered laboratory rats and their relationship with humans.
Lori Andrews has been an adviser on genetic and reproductive technology to Congress, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the federal Department of Health and Human Services. She served as chair of the federal Working Group on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project. She recently served as a consultant to the science ministers of twelve countries on the issues of embryonic stem cells, gene patents, and DNA banking. Professor Andrews is the author of ten books, including Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy (West Publishing, 2002) (with Mark Rothstein and Maxwell Mehlman).
Adam Zaretsky has an art and technology MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago where he assisted in teaching the first History of Art and Biology course with Eduardo Kac. He then spent two years as a research associate at MIT in the Arnold Demain Laboratory for Microbiology and Industrial Fermentation. A recent article in The New York Times called Zaretsky "an eccentric even in the eccentric world of bioart."
Dr. Alka Chandna served for 5 years as a tenured professor in mathematics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. A visit to a slaughterhouse in 1989 gave new meaning for Chandna to the notions of voicelessness and nonviolence. Since then she has been actively involved in the animal rights and vegetarian advocacy movements as well as a myriad of economic justice, feminist, peace, and environmental groups using alternative broadcast and print media to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Today she works with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has been working in progressive politics for more than 20 years.
This talk is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, PETA, The Evelyn Nef Foundation, and Evelyn Nef. Tickets for the Mutants Talk are $5 for adults and free for students. Space is limited and reservations are recommended; they can be made through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113