In October of 2014, Martinez-Moreno moved to the Bay Area to work on my current project, the insertion of human DNA into a tree. The tree will be shaped and set up in a container so that it can be exhibited. The work continues at SAIC ’s BioLab where I have prepared an experiment to clone human DNA to be inserted into the plant.
The cloning was successful. Here it is possible to see an electrophoresis gel done in collaboration with Heather Dewey-Hagborg, where the bars in the middle of the photograph are evidence of the existence of the cloned DNA. This is an ongoing project that is moving forward and requires lab time and will be done by 2016.
I want to create art using biological materials that raises questions about the immortality of the subject when the tree containing the DNA survives that person. I also raises questions about the identity of the individual through his/her DNA, which holds the genealogical information.
At the same time, during the summer, I modeled a 150- year-old pine that will serve as a vessel for human DNA. The tree was repositioned in a new angle wired to mechanically reposition its branches in a harmonious and homogenous rounded shape. The intention is to shape the tree as –it should look if it was in nature– rather than how -it is in nature-. In spring the tree will be replanted to improve the composition in a container that matches the overall shape.