University of Minnesota

Natural History of the Enigma

Eduardo Kac

Eduardo Kac (born 1962, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Natural History of the Enigma, 2009


28 ft. h X 14 ft. w X 10 ft. w

Location: Outside the Cargill Genomics Building, Saint Paul campus

The sculpture is a reflection on the genetic continuity between all living creatures, including microbes, plants, and humans.

The sculptural form is a metaphor for the humbling fact that all life shares basic elements and belong in a biological continuum. As both a poetic and philosophical statement, my work seeks to highlight what all life has in common.

The form of the sculpture is a protein I created by using a plant as a bioreactor (an ordinary process in labs everywhere). The plant produced natural red pigments to indicate the presence of a human gene in it. The red color of the sculpture evokes this interaction. From a cultural standpoint, the idea of creating a sculpture using the logic and the processes of life is fascinating.

The sculpture has a shape that can be recognized by the general public as abstract and by the scientific community as a protein. Both responses are equally valid. The sculpture presents itself as a bridge between the two worlds. I believe that, in time, as a concrete manifestation of the art/science dialogue, both responses will converge.

Installations Near By

Philip Rickey Maria Artemis