Ellen Sandor and Keith Miller, (art)n
Charles Sawyers, John Kuriyan and Lore Leighton
Duratrans, Kodalith, Plexiglas
How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era at the International Center of Photography in New York, February 28 through May 25, 2003:
The International Center of Photography organized an exhibition of works by over thirty contemporary artists and photographers who consider some of the most significant issues raised by the Human Genome Project. How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era was curated by Carol Squiers. How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era featured artists who are dealing with issues of biology and human identity in a variety of ways. The show raises questions about the limits and capacities of scientific explanations and about how new medical research might affect us. Included will be works that consider a broad range of topics such as cloning, race, congenital disease, aging, genetic identification, and transgenic breeding. How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era coincided with events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Artists represented include Richard Press, Manabu Yamanaka and Taryn Simon.
Cell Challenge was additionally shown with more than 40 works in (art)n Virtual Visions: Three Decades of Collaboration, October 29, 2002–– January 5, 2003 at the Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University. The exhibition addressed social issues such as disease, biological warfare, urban poverty and remembrance.
Cell Challenge was first included in Genomic Art: Portrait of the 21st Century, Baskin Visual Arts Studio at the University of California Santa Cruz, June 18–August 27, 2001.
International Centery of Photography, New York
How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era, International Center of
Photography, New York catalogue
(art)n Virtual Visions: Three Decades of Collaboration, Brunnier Art Museum,
Iowa State University, catalogue
This work represents an active collaboration between artists and scientists. Based on scientific data developed by three scientists for the drug Gleevec, also known as STI-571 which is a breakthrough treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia patients, this three-dimensional portrayal was created by artists at (art)n.
Sandor and Miller in seeking to interpret and to make the complexity of scientific information visible, hint at the elegance and intricacy of human construction. In the sinuous ribbons and intersecting elements of the composition, a portrait emerges that is multi-layered, multi-faceted and three-dimensional. Perhaps this work is an apt portrait for this coming century, suggesting as it does that simpler notions of identity, race, illness or physiognomy no longer suffice. When the human genome was revealed to have only 30,000 genes, considerably less than the conjectured 100,000 genes, scientists realized that our genetic make-up is all the more complex.
STI-571: The Science
Gleevec, also known as STI-571, is a breakthrough treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (C.M.L.) patients. C.M.L., one of the four main types of leukemia, afflicts almost 5,000 new patients a year in the United States alone. The median survival time of these patients is currently only about six years. Gleevec works by seeking out and destroying the cancerous cells with almost no side effects. The previous treatment was an interferon that has been known to cause hair loss, depression and insomnia. Gleevec seems to be a dream come true for C.M.L. patients, as studies have shown that remarkable high percentages of patients see their white blood cell counts return to normal.
The drug has additionally shown promising results in treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and is being tested against glioblastoma, a lethal brain tumor, as well as small-cell lung cancer and prostrate cancer. The drug (STI-571) is the green, hexagonal structure in the foreground. The backbone of the ABL kinase protein is the yellow ribbon-like object. The surface of the protein is in purple. A section of the surface is cut away so that you can see how the drug fits into the internal binding pocket of the protein as well as the core backbone structure of the protein. The transparent, spherical image in the foreground is a microscopic view of a healthy person's DNA. Notice that there are two green and two red sections. The background image is an enlarged microscopic view of abnormal DNA. Notice that one of the green sections and one red section in the lower right area have fused to form the yellow section. This is abnormal and does not occur in healthy humans. The dithered white and black in both microscopic views is autofluorescence of the probes in the nucleus. The enlarged versions of chromosome 9 and chromosome 22 at the top of the image are healthy, normal pairs as are the complete set of chromosomes in the center of the image. In contrast, the enlarged pairs at the bottom reflect the chromosome of a C.M.L. patient.