Vegetable Human Hybrids
The Genetically Modified Foods Cookbook
Art can be a powerful tool for exploring the choices we make as a society. My artistic endeavor is to make technology accessible to our everyday, biological and ethical human existence. In my photographs, I incorporate humor and familiar objects to make the issues surrounding new technologies accessible on a more intuitive level.
In the Genetically Modified Foods Cook Book, I explore the relatively recent technology that allows us to transfer genes between species. While transgenic technologies are being explored for many different uses, one of the closest to home is the phenomenon of crops that have been altered to produce traits such as pest resistance and increased shelf life. As far as the consumer is concerned, it is an invisible presence—soybeans that contain bacteria genes that produce chemicals toxic to insects look just like conventional soybeans, and there are no labels to tell one from the other.
Part human and part vegetable, the Vegetable Human Hybrids make visible the usually invisible process of genetic modification. In the familiar context of a cook book, these unusual vegetables bring concerns about the technology of gene transfer home to the kitchen. The ability to directly modify the genes of organisms has both pros and cons, and the images are not intended to help viewers choose a side. Instead, the photographs encourage people to consider the implications of the choices we make, and how they affect our lives and our dinner plates.