When the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was discovered 50 years ago, it was clear that this profound knowledge would have a substantial impact on humanity.
Since then, studies of DNA have changed the ways people perceive who they are, the foods they eat and the medicines they take. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA, the USF Contemporary Art Museum will host DNA: Art and Science — The Double Helix.
Though many people would perceive art and science as completely separate entities, event organizer Preston Poe believes the two are more alike than some might imagine.
“Art and science are similar (in that) we’re looking at the world around us in order to understand something,” Poe, also a USF graduate student, said.
Kicking off the evening, internationally known artist Eduardo Kac will present a lecture titled Life Transformation — Art Mutation in FAH 101 at 6 p.m. He will discuss his most recent works of transgenic art, or art that is related to the field of DNA. A slideshow will accompany Kac’s lecture, and the artist’s talk will be followed by an awards ceremony.
“Eduardo’s bringing something to the show that will make it really extraordinary,” Poe said.
Kac is best known for a project called “GFP Bunny,” an art project in which he used genetic engineering to create a distinct being.
The artist inserted DNA from a glowing jellyfish into a rabbit. The rabbit then produced a fluorescent offspring.
His contributions to the world of art and science resulted in extensive media coverage and led to controversial discussion about the uses of genetic engineering.
Kac, who is also the show’s juror, will give out three awards based on the works that epitomized the significance of DNA. The award money was put up by the USF Office of Research’s Dr. Ian Phillips, who helped put the show together.
Poe said he hopes the exhibition will attract people outside of the USF environment.
“The show is a broad range of diverse artists and scientists who are representing their research and experimentation with DNA,” he said.
Featuring the work of more than 50 artists, the show will include both still images and video work. Poe also said the show will include art from middle school students, who, he said, are the future’s scientists and artists.
Alexa Favata, associate director of CAM, said most of the artwork for the show was submitted electronically or in DVD format. She also said there will be prizes awarded to the middle schools who submitted the most artwork.
According to Favata, the audience should expect to see “a variety of works that somehow address the subjects of DNA and who we are.”
Favata said there is a strong relationship between art and science.
“I think that artists and scientists share that curiosity,” she said. “It’s really a quest for information.”
DNA: Art & Science — The Double Helix is a free event and will last for one night only. The event will be broadcasted through CAM’s website at www.usfcam.usf.edu .