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February 23 2013

The Story of How An Artist Created a Genetic Hybrid of Himself and a Petunia

The most radical figure in the biodesign movement is Eduardo Kac, who doesn’t merely incorporate existing living things in his artworks—he tries to create new life-forms. “Transgenic art,” he calls it.

There was Alba, an albino bunny that glowed green under a black light. Kac had commissioned scientists in France to insert a fluorescent protein from Aequoria victoria, a bioluminescent jellyfish, into a rabbit egg. The startling creature, born in 2000, was not publicly exhibited, but the announcement caused a stir, with some scientists and animal rights activists suggesting it was unethical. Others, though, voiced support. “He’s pushing the boundaries between art and life, where art is life,” Staci Boris, then a Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, curator, said at the time.

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