Telomeres Project on Imminent Immortality
Gene therapy, bio-engineering, and cloning have captured the concerned attention of scientists, scholars, and artists alike. These fascinating issues are precursors to monumental debates that advances in DNA therapy will soon unleash.
SIGGRAPH 2001 Art Show catalogue
Gene therapy, bio-engineering, and cloning have captured the concerned attention of scientists, scholars, and artists alike. These fascinating issues are precursors to monumental debates that advances in DNA therapy will soon unleash. What is this cutting edge, DNA research about? In one word: Immortality.
Sound Credit: SkyBoy Productions, Inc. Steve Boyer
Currently, genetic researchers have convened their attentions on one discrete area at the end of the human chromosome strand where one finds telomeres. These gene-free DNA sequences are fractionated over time with each cell division. While loss of telomere material causes cellular aging, telomeres do not always degrade and can be regenerated by the telomerase enzyme. If scientists succeed in controlling the regenerating telomerase enzyme, they will have the remarkable power to not only neutralize Cancer and revive the immune systems of AIDS victims, but potential to make individuals immortal on a cellular level, initially doubling human life span. Researchers anticipate testing a life-prolonging pill or injection within 15 years that will indefinitely freeze age and health, hinting to the possibility of even reversing the aging process.
Radically futuristic though this may seem, it is tangible, invaluable, and ethically dubious. Who will receive and control distribution? Will longevity become a basic human right and should the "Everliving" procreate? Meticulous reverse-engineering seems reasonably justified to cure fatal disease and human suffering. But can wrinkling and aging be classified causes of unnecessary suffering? Why is immortality desirable and how would it effect our consciousness?
(art)n's "Telomeres Project On Imminent Immortality" contains interpretive sounds of a genetic environment, engaged by contact from participants' footsteps on the floor mats surrounding its base. Illuminated from within, eight PHSColograms evoke the feel of an imagined regenerative laboratory, embodied in the form of an octagonal sculpture.
Telomeres Interactive PHSCologram Sculpture
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Acknowledgements & Credits
Ellen Sandor, Thomas J. McLeish, Fernando Orellana, Nichole Maury, Pete Latrofa, Keith Miller, Todd Margolis, Sabrina Raaf, Barry Flanary, Stephan Meyers & Janine Fron