Genomix Mask and Complex Web of Life


In modern society, human had developed socio-technological systems to control major parts of their lives as well as the environments they live in. The mental model that “we” are not part of the wild natural world, but rather a world that we designed and hacked, makes possibility for human to savagely exploit nature as commodities. After the idea of capitalism was established, capital and its accumulation was a center of the world-system. Donna Haraway, the world renowned feminine cyborg scholar proposed a solution “to stay with the trouble and make kin with nature” bringing human back to be a part of nature are necessity, but it surely is not a smooth pathway. We must face monstrous reactions during this becoming epoch. Whether we agree or disagree with this proposal, the urgency of environmental crisis and alienated roles of human from nature are inevitable. Genomix interpreted “making kin” as the act of infusing of interspecies genome of humankind and other organisms together (i.e. iguana, monitor, virus, and octopus). Genomix is a collection of  masks generated by the collaboration between Artificial intelligent (AI), and human using the genomic data from species that represent the four epochs of the world: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, and Chthulucene. This collection deliberates on the interplays between technologies, nature and humankind by fusing and visualizing the hybrid biological identities through algorithmic expression. Ironically, to reconcile between human and nature, we need help from an AI. The Deep Learning algorithm learns the heat-map of DNA as well as the biological surface of the organism, and then generates many infused patterns that we can use to recompose as a mask. The masks expressed the tensions that the idea of “making kin with nature” is an un-thought of ours as the machine become the aesthetics catalyst that combine human with nature.


IEEE VIS 2017 (guest)