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Author Tania Markoutsa

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 3

  • pg 1
									Author: Tania Markoutsa
Magazine: Eikones (2007-10-27)
Page: 30

Masthead: BIOTECHNOLOGY

Title:
The generation of Genpets

The scenario of the future is here now, alive and horrific, in the site
www.genpets.com, which design a young artist of Toronto.

Do you want to have at home a pet who never barking appropriate hours,
which doesn‟t need a walk… and when you are going vacation, you can
close it in a box and hibernate. The seeming of Genpets, the pets that are
creations of biotechnology, remind unworldly, they are fast in a
diaphanous box, they are sell in toyshop and of course they are alive. If
you look carefully inside the plastic box, you can see the heart area
moving measuredly but colored lights prove that breath normally. Proud
for the cration, Bio-Genica, boast that redefined nature and provides that
future is a bright and wonderful place. Behind monstrosities and site hide
the genius thesis of 25 years old Adam Brandejs and his friend Crystal
Pallister. The recent BFA graduate of the Ontario College of Art &
Design talk us about his work.

How do you thought about this art-joke (gen-pets)?
First, it‟s not meant as a joke, it‟s a serious subject, the project is
designed to cause thought and discussion.
Genpets is a largely a social commentary with a question. Genpets
touches on a few issues, the most obvious one is Bioengineering. I want
people to think about where we should take this technology now that it is
becoming more accessible. We‟re engineering our food supply, altering
nature, creating bioengineered cats, all with little thought or research onto
the long term effect. Unlike natural selection or selective breeding,
bioengineering occurs at a much faster rate, and does not allow other
natural systems to adapt to the sudden change. History has already taught
us that introducing foreign elements into the environment has massive
effects, and yet it appears we are doomed to repeat those same mistakes.
The Genpets project also touches base on how we treat animals, hence
why they are packaged. When I walk into a pet store I am not seeing a
loving environment. I am seeing life pasturized into a consumer gaze.
Animals are in small cages and are diffused through supply and demand.
I simply took it one step further to make a connection that was all the
more obvious. People want convenience at any price, well, as long as that
price is competitive that is. Having the Genpets fed by tubes and
chemical supplements also mirrors some of the mistreatment happening
in large factory farms or testing labs, in which animals are not considered
anything more than 'product'. I hope that through art like this, and further
work, I can do my part to bring some of these issues to discussion, rather
than remain under the mainstream radar.
We need a little controversy, from art, as well as science, people are all
too happy to sit back and let the world turn without thinking about things
or fighting for their right to have an opinion. The more controversy there
is, the more people will talk about the ideas behind them and this is a
good thing.

Do you believe that nowadays are parents ready to buy such a toy?
Parents no. children yes. And those children will one day be parents.
Every generation gets more desensitized to buying. Children
unfortunately love it. I made it too believable I guess. I tried so hard to
play the „evil‟ marketer, or corporation, and I succeeded

How many people believed that gen-pets are true?
A lot. There is a strong sarcastic tone to everything written on the page,
but even native English speaking viewers fail to pick up on it. Genpets
gets millions of visitors, and thousands of emails.
I want there to be a suspension of disbelief, like watching a movie you
get involved with the story and forget you‟re simply in the theatre, I think
art can do that as well. For the message behind Genpets it‟s clear that
people need to believe it is real, or at least question it for a short period of
time. My goal is not to trick people though. I simply want to make people
question what they might otherwise not question and to think about these
issues. These are issues that have to be thought about and discussed
before they happen, rather than after. I hope that through art like this, and
further work, I can do my part to bring some of these issues to discussion,
rather than remain under the mainstream radar.

Do you think that is the icon of the near future? Our grandchildren
are going to play with alive-toys?
I completely believe by the time I have grand children they will be
playing with living toys. While the concept of this is scary for me,
children now viewing genpets love them and want them, for the most part
they don‟t seem to care about the feelings of the animals.

Today in Greece
“Our big problem today is our fears” told us the doctor of law and
scientific counsellor of National Commission of Bioethic, Takis Vidalis.
Our fears are justified up to a point but there is a myth about
biotechnology. We think that everything can happen. This is not right.
Nowadays and for the near future, technically, we are not capable to
create creatures like Genpets”. Signalize that the most successes of tech
are for benefit. Contrary, there is not interest, neither economic, to create
such creatures. “The time we chase witches and ghosts has past. It‟ s
mistake to return to past.

								
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