Purdue News

October 4, 2005

Bio artist, creator of green-glowing rabbit to speak at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The artist known for his creation of a genetically engineered rabbit that glows green under a fluorescent light will speak at Purdue University on Oct. 18.

Kac's GFP Bunny
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Eduardo Kac (pronounced Katz) will present "Life Transformation – Art Mutation" at 3 p.m. in the Krannert Building's first-floor auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A book signing for "Telepresence and Bio Art – Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots" will follow at 5 p.m. at Borders Bookstore, 348 E. State St., West Lafayette. The book was published by University of Michigan Press in 2005 and costs $65 for the hardcover edition and $27.95 for the paperback.

"Eduardo Kac is an artist who is always breaking new frontiers, especially in showing how art is used in unusual mediums such as telecommunications, robotics and genetics, in the field generally known as bio art," said Rosanne Altstatt, a visiting scholar of visual and performing arts at Purdue. "Kac's work appeals to so many people across disciplines because of the dialogue it inspires about how science, technology and communication affect every aspect of life."

Kac's "GFP Bunny," named Alba, attracted worldwide attention in 2000 when the artist asked a French laboratory to genetically engineer a jellyfish gene to create a white rabbit that turns green when exposed to special lighting. Since then, he has been on a 'Free Alba' campaign because he wants to take the rabbit out of the lab and home to live with him and his family.

"He wants people to understand the responsibility that humans inherit when altering life with science," Altstatt said. "During his presentation, he also will talk about his most recent work with transgenic organisms that contain genes from another species, and the public dialogue on art, genetics and responsibility these projects have generated."

In the 1980s, prior to widespread use of the Internet, the Brazilian-born artist began exploring "the notion of telepresence" through telecommunications. Since then, he has focused on how communication experiences, such as holographic poetry and computer networking, become works of art. In his work "Uirapuru," Kac designed an Amazon jungle with flying fish responding to Web-based commands. Audio and video from the fishes' point of view were played on the Web, so people could see from the fish's perspective in this virtual world. At the same time, the fish sang in response to the rhythm of Internet traffic.

Kac's visit is sponsored by the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: Rosanne Altstatt, (765) 494-6469, raltstatt@purdue.edu

Eduardo Kac, ekac@artic.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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