Christina Mackie: IIP (Intron Image Project) explored our feelings of unease about the concept of genetic modification. It was designed to raise a number of questions about the ethical problems of creating new life forms and of making art. Is it possible to make a creative genetic contribution to the world without passing on your own genes? Is it necessary to have an obvious benefit in mind when modifying the genetic pattern of a life form? What are the implications of using genetics to make art that has a life span beyond that of its creator? Can a work of art be invisible?
The starting point for the work was a small black and white drawing of a cat. This was then converted to a DNA sequence. Could the DNA be inserted into the DNA of a common plant altering its genetic make-up forever? The project raised questions of how, when, and under what conditions any plants thus altered could be released into the environment.
Image: Christina Mackie: Intron Image Project, 1999, installation view.
Financially supported by London Arts Board, Exhibition and Events Fund, The Henry Moore Foundation and The Arts Council of England, Artists First Time Publications Fund. Sponsored by Greenfingers Hydroponics.
Dr Mike Fay at the Jodrell Laboratory, Kew Gardens advised on Poplar genetics.
Chris Panton at Panart codified the image.
Dr Gerry Martin at Cruachem fabricated the DNA.
Helen Perks made the embroidery.
Alan Hart at Wallbank & Perkin produced the weaving.
A publication was produced by The Showroom but is now unavailable.