Art of Science: Deborah Cornell’s Drifting DNA

Deborah Cornell, Species Boundaries: Wind Map. Digital Print, 2006

Deborah Cornell, Species Boundaries: Wind Map. Digital Print, 2006

Printmaker Deborah Cornell juxtaposes familiar images in unexpected ways to prompt viewers to reflect on big questions in science and culture. Her work explores ideas of reality and change, particularly regarding the interaction of science, technology and nature.

Cornell created a series of prints entitled Species Boundaries that look at the consequences of genetic engineering and the unpredictability of genetic interactions over time. This print, Wind Map, uses the visual echo between a map of wind currents and a micrograph of chromosomes to raise make a point about complex systems and the illusion of control. No matter how hard scientists strive to control their experiments, genetic material is about as respectful of borders as the wind.

Says Cornell, “Nothing exists in isolation – complex interrelationships can produce unexpected results. Questions arise connecting genes to the market economy, altering genetic codes, the migration of altered organisms and their impact on environments, humans and on other species.”

You can see more of Cornell’s work at her website.

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