SPRING LEAP INTO CRISPR FALL
New genetic biotech wonders abound. This piece attempts to capture the awesome potential of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) Cas9 technology, its seemingly limitless possibility, mystery, and risk.
At the top, a Buddha’s face is superimposed on an embryo. Their shared eye peers down at Curly and Laurey from the Oklahoma! musical as they high-step into an uncharted future, their arms blending into golden wings and antennae. Art nouveau porcelain lovebirds extend from the dancers‘ golden wings, the whole scene suggestive of love and natural procreation.
Central to the piece are two double-entwined ellipses, representing the four seasons, and offering up an optical illusion, at once an atom and a butterfly, emblematic of creation and metamorphosis. In the spaces between are images of genetic material.
Leading upward on either side are the brick stairways of the Mesopotamian Ziggurat of Ur, the pyramidal temples that connected heaven and earth.
To the left and right in the center, fishes of composite metamorphic images face each other, one suspended above the sun and the other above the moon. On either side toward the center, at the tip of the fishes, are the Egyptian ‘Eye of Ra’ and ‘Eye of Horus,’ symbols of protection and good health, also reflective of balanced male and female power.
At the bottom, large caterpillars are attached to the lower arcs of the ellipses. Their tail horns hold apples upon which a butterfly is alighting. Its thorax becomes a hypodermic needle piercing a cell membrane containing a shattered apple undergoing genetic change.
At the base, an ancient gnarled tree trunk morphs into a serpent, suggesting the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Original Sin of tasting the apple.
In the very center, the Divinity reigns: a Christian image of God, superimposed on a scallop shell containing an egg.