Today, DNA based images hold so much weight in medical, genetic, and criminal research that they can be deemed to be the most trustworthy images of our time. In fact, images based on genetic fingerprints have been called “truth machines”, “footprints of God” and “the gold standard” in identifying suspects.
Paul Vanouse, second prize-winner in last year’s edition of VIDA 13.2 for Ocular Revision, creates DNA images which are radically different to the abstract band patterns we are used to seeing in the media. Vanouse’s work defies the notion that DNA images are something natural. For instance, by creating multiple images based on the DNA of the same individual, as well as images that resemble known pictorial icons, he proves that the image of DNA is a cultural builder, which adopts a specific pattern based on the fragmentation or amplification techniques chosen by the laboratory. In Ocular Revision (2011) he creates images of the hemispheres of the earth using the DNA of E.coli bacteria.
The workshop focused on his thoughts and interests as an artist and his way of working with DNA in his projects. Thus, by careful selection of enzymes, recognisable artistic images and icons were created from DNA bands.
This workshop did not require any prior knowledge of biology, but rather included participants with diverse profiles: visual arts, media and information technology, biology, etc.