Genome Artists’ Talk | RSVP HERE

The last RAC Chat will feature a panel discussion with the three artists commissioned to create artwork that relates to the genome – Eric Anderson, Zoe Cinel and Shah Noor Shafqat – all Minnesota based artists.

Created especially for the Human Genome Experience at the Rochester Art Center, First Person Plural by Eric Anderson creates video portraits of visitors using facial recognition technology that matches visitors’ features with ten thousand faces from around the world. The portrait created constantly shifts and changes as the data program works to recognize the participant. Then the artwork adds the participant’s features into the database to help it create portraits of future visitors. This data-driven portrait creation reflects the same data programming used to diagnose patients, as well as genomic data matching. First Person Plural invites viewers to consider how genomic data collection affects individual sense of identity and the individual in the context of individualized healthcare. Anderson is a graduate of Harvard and Iowa Writer’s Workshop, who now lives and works in Rochester.

G-enga is an interactive sculpture by Zoe Cinel inspired by the game Jenga® and by the Rosetta Stone that uses interactivity and play to help visitors process feelings and facts about the genome. Just as the Rosetta Stone was the key to decipher an unknown language, genome research has done the same for deciphering the DNA code.  Visitors are invited to arrange any number of the 550 large wooden pegs that either contain phrases, questions, concerns, and facts about the genome or are left blank for the visitor to contribute their thoughts and responses to what they learned about the genome. Cinel is an Italian artist with her Masters in Fine Art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Shah Noor Shafqat’s installation, Intimate Gravity, incorporates abstract forms with paintings of her baby in utero, born just weeks before this exhibition, as the artwork explores the range of emotions a mother feels knowing she will most likely pass on a genetic condition to her child. When Shafqat’s first child was born with severe genetic eczema, Shafqat turned to her art practice to process the challenges this disease caused her family. The colors and shapes of each abstract disc mimics the petri dishes of researchers. The artist uses paint and embroidery on silk to recreate the sensation of human skin, and even encourages viewers to very carefully and gently to touch the surface of the discs as if it were skin. Shafqat received an MFA from the University of Arizona and a BFA from University of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan.

RAC Chat: Genome Artists’ Talk | Wednesday, September 19 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

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