This being you must create: Transgenic art and witnessing the invisible

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This Being You Must Create' uses the story of Frankenstein as a parent text through which to understand how the cultural phenomena surrounding genomics are shot through with stories of biological meaning, which remain unreconciled with the problems of invisibility. The essay examines two of Frankenstein's progeny: Scottish sculptor Christine Borland's work The Monster's Monologue (1997) and a piece called GFP Bunny (2000) by the self-named 'transgenic' artist Eduardo Kac. These works expose the ways in which biological meaning, just as in Mary Shelley's novel, is constructed through a dependence on scopic knowledge, the logic of representation and the powerful hybrid notion of the visible/invisible. Like the monster in Frankenstein, who begs his creator for a companion to his misery, these works demand a witness to invisibility, a witness who can testify to the fact that biological meaning 'is always already hybrid, monstrous, very often written or told in darkness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Christine Borland
  • Contemporary art
  • Eduardo Kac
  • Frankenstein
  • Genetics
  • Witness


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