Ellen Sandor: Telomeres Project On Imminent Immortality

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    Telomeres Project On Imminent Immortality


Creation Year:



    Interactive PHSCologram sculpture


    4 feet x 4 feet x 6 feet



Artist Statement:

    Gene therapy, bio-engineering, and cloning have captured the concerned attention of scientists, scholars, and artists alike. These fascinating issues are precursors to monumental debates that advances in DNA therapy will soon unleash. What is this cutting-edge DNA research about? In one word: immortality.

    Currently, genetic researchers are focusing on one discrete area at the end of the human chromosome strand, where telomeres are located. These gene-free DNA sequences are fractionated with each cell division. While loss of telomere material causes cellular aging, telomeres do not always degrade and can be regenerated by the telomerase enzyme. If scientists succeed in controlling the regenerating telomerase enzyme, they will have not only the remarkable power to neutralize cancer and revive the immune systems of AIDS victims, but also the potential to make individuals immortal on a cellular level, initially doubling the average human lifespan. Within 15 years, researchers expect to be testing a life-prolonging pill or injection that will indefinitely freeze age and health, and possibly even reverse the aging process.

    Though this may seem radically futuristic, it is tangible, invaluable, and ethically dubious. Who will receive and control distribution? Will longevity become a basic human right, and should the Everliving procreate? Meticulous reverse-engineering seems reasonably justified to cure fatal disease and human suffering. But can wrinkling and aging be considered causes of unnecessary suffering? Why is immortality desirable, and how would it effect our consciousness?

    (art)n’s Telomeres Project On Imminent Immortality contains interpretive sounds of a genetic environment engaged by contact from participants: footsteps on the floormats surrounding its base. Illuminated from within, eight PHSColograms evoke the feel of an imagined regenerative laboratory in the form of an octagonal sculpture.

    Rotated computer-interleaved Duratrans and Kodalith films, plexiglas, fluorescent bulbs, ambient sound. GenConAD and AudioMegaTablet by Sky Boy Productions, Inc.

Technical Information:

    Hardware/Software: Proprietary, SGI Indigo2, Macintosh, Microsoft NT, Maya 3.0, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop 5.5.

Affiliation Where Artwork Was Created: