April 28, 2009
posted by Caroline Picard
I found this article on the Huffington Post and thought I’d post a little section of it here. Of course you can check out the whole thing by going here.
“The Obama administration will pass the 100 day mark this week, and you Obamaphiles out there that don’t want to let go of the early, heady times might be interested in Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days, a poetic embodiment of the beginning of Obama’s presidency. The site is chock-full of great poets, even attracting some big names like Mark Doty, David Lehman and Fanny Howe (who we featured here just last week).”
February 5, 2009
written by Meredith Kooi
Modification or, rather, mod.i.fi.ca.tion – 1. an act or instance of modifying, 2. the state of being modified; partial alteration, 3. a modified form; variety, 4. Biology. a change in a living organism acquired from its own activity or environment and not transmitted to its descendents, 5. limitation or qualification
It seems that we can modify almost anything, and we do: our food, our bodies, our genes… However, we do not tend to foresee the unintended consequences of these modifications, or manipulations. What does it really mean to modify? What are the implications of intervening in natural processes like DNA formation and reproduction?
In recent news, Obama, as promised, is going to help “restore science to its rightful place” including the lifting of the ban on stem cell research. Read an article about it here. This issue – harvesting stem cells from unused in vitro embryos or aborted fetuses – is extremely controversial. The Bush administration was firmly against enlarging this research even with the urgings of Nobel Laureates. The debate is hot; the moral implications are many. It also brings forth questions of progress. Do we need to manipulate our own body environments in order to progress further?
Adam Zaretsky writes and makes work about issues of biotechnology. His paper “The Art of Germline Mutagenesis” talks about embryonic stem cells specifically. He discusses our want of changing our genetic make-up. He quotes James Watson as saying “And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it… I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?” He also attempts to “sculpt” life by performing microsurgeries. He attempted to create “fashionable, ‘Mosaic Brut’ designer zebrafish by removing the head off of one fish’s embryo and attaching it onto another’s embryo, creating a double-headed zebrafish. He claims “Science is a subset of Art,” and so this exercise was meant to be an exploration into the unknown – how nature forms bodies. He attempts to investigate how and why we form the way we do.
We have to ask, if we can determine how we are formed and change the formation: What would make a better human? One that can see better? Or hear better? Or run faster? Or has a more symmetrical face? Or someone who maybe doesn’t produce any body odor? It is not only the nature outside of our own bodies that we are trying to conquer – it is also our own.
January 26, 2009
Much of the clamor arises from anticipation stirred by Mr. Obama’s campaign remarks about the importance of the arts. One of the few candidates with an arts platform, he called for a young “artist corps” to work in low-income schools and neighborhoods; affordable health care and tax benefits for artists; and efforts at cultural diplomacy, like dispatching artist-ambassadors to other countries.
November 16, 2008
posted by caroline picard
the original site for this post is here.