Eduardo Kac (2008-02-07)

Eduardo Kac
Practice: Telematic and Transgenic Artist
Date of Lecture: 2008-02-07


Telematic and transgenic art pioneer Eduardo Kac speaks on Thursday, January 7, 2008 at the Kodak Lecture Series, Ryerson University.

Born in Brazil in 1962 and currently based in Chicago, Eduardo Kac (pronounced “Katz”) has become one of the most polemic artists of his generation as he continuously evolved his practice around the most crucial issues of contemporary art. His early telematic pieces in the pre-Web 1980s were followed in the ’90s by explorations that questioned the nature of telecommunications, social global networks and the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds.

On November 11, 1997 as part of his work Time Capsule, Kac had implanted on his ankle a 9-digit ID microchip and registered himself with a databank, allowing the radio signal emitted by the chip to be traced via the Internet, initiating an international press debate regarding the relationship humans hold with technology, while commenting on social surveillance system and the changing condition of memory in the digital age.

In 1998, he publishes the article Transgenic Art in the Leonardo Electronic Almanac and proposes the use of genetically modified living organisms as art objects. The next year, he completes a net installation entitled Genesis whose key element is an “artist’s gene”, a synthetic gene that was created by translating a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis into Morse Code and then converting the code into DNA base pairs using a protocol specially developed by the artist for the work.


In 2000 he announces the creation, through a commission to the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in France, of a transgenic rabbit that glowed green under blue light. The fluorescent bunny called Alba, presented numerous implications in ethics, belief systems and genetic engineering.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and its namesake in Rio de Janeiro, and the ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe, Germany), among others. He is currently working on a public art commission for the University of Minnesota, which will be on the permanent collection of the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis.

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