Out of Africa and beyond, 2010 2018-05-27T20:48:31+00:00

Project Description

255 x 80 x 80
hanging object, wire, beads, laminate sheets, acrylic

A scientific research project (Bryan Sykes, Oxford 2001) identified 33 related populations of the human species, each bearing a random mutation that took ca. 10,000 years to become established, represented in my art work by a letter, a colour and an acrobatic pose. All ‘clans’ trace their genetic heritage from Africa, here a wire map, while the adjoining lines add up to only 100,000 years of evolution, demonstrating how closely related we all are. Yet, whereas most genetic material mixes through marriage, the branches of this tree would normally never meet again as they trace maternal lineages – the genetic changes occurring in the mitochondria, the power houses of the cell, that are passed on to offspring in the cell plasma of women’s ova exclusively. This relative simplicity is what makes the analysis useful as a kind of genetic clock. Genetic engineering could feed information back into the neighbour-joining tree and inspired me to imagine new spiralling loops of metamorphosis applying to mitochondrial DNA