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.