Friday, March 9, 2007


From: Eugene Thacker
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 20:13:05 -0500 (EST)

The example that Troy mentions is noteworthy - and the rationale even more so. I assume most on the list have heard about the so-called Vacanti mouse which, if you can believe it, has its own Wikipedia entry:

Oron, maybe you can add another angle on this, since as I recall you workedwith Vacanti some time back? Personally I'd like to see a whole line of plush stuffed animals based on biotech - the Vacanti mouse, Dolly (which could be a play on the problems with cloning and mechanical reproduction - each stuffy would be a tiny bit different), even Kac's GFP Bunny. Is this bio-sculpture?

But Troy's example brings up science fiction again. Elsewhere I've argued that SF is a kind of arbitrating discourse between the biotech industry and the general public; Critical Art Ensemble have referred to this as the "promissoryrhetoric" of the biotech industry. Here I mean "science fiction" not so much as a set of narrative genre conventions, but as a kind of "imaging" practice that involves imaging the future or possible future scenarios. There is a naive wing that unflinchingly practices the utopian version (Monsanto promising unlimited free rice for all underdeveloped countries). But there is also the more critical - but still conservative - wing that uses the dystopia to both caution but also support the idea of a biotech industry (I would say that the StanfordIRB example might fall into this category). And then of course there is the good-old-fashioned struggle of the free human spirit against instrumentality (I would put 'Gattaca' here). But in all cases there is a certain kind of "visioning" practice involved which, arguably, is the core of what takes place in SF...

Finally, for those who still think that biology is unfashionable:


to post a response, click on the "comment" button below
to return to the main page, go to

No comments: