Thursday, January 11, 2007
Adam Zaretsky to the FDA on cloned meat
Following the recent post on the FDA's ruling on cloned meat as fit for consumption and bio-artist Adam Zaretsky, here is a letter on the matter from Adam on issue that he sent in:
Does Cloned Animal Safety take into account the effect of Aesthetics on thelong-term Ecological effects of Food Chain Design?
I not very worried about somatic cell nuclear transfer as a Food Scienceedible technique. The abnormalities that can be expected might be delicious.I am more worried that the breeders may not have had the Art Historicalschooling that most Academic students of Aesthetics might have. Right now,the only type of 'taste' we can see embedded in cloned livestock is based onramping up meat production and maybe designing and cloning industrial beingsborn with zero percent transfat. If we are spending millions of taxpayerdollars on making copies of sires whose profitability is based on 4-H tropesof beauty alone, then we are missing much of what contemporary art can lendto contemporary breeding.
How do we decide what is worth engineering for?
In particular, Livestock can be designed along a wide variety of Aestheticgene expressions. Considering the range of gene expressions possible in acollage of multiple genomic palletes, economic efficiency is neither asimple concept nor our only deciding force. Beyond public acceptance of thetechnology, there is also public trend diversity, novelty markets and nichepower to be brokered in this global competition for more unusual food. Weneed to explore the entire range of clonables and widen the variety pool toinclude gourmet, abject and non-utilitarian breeding projects.Practitioners or Historians of Futurism, Surrealism, Abstraction, Minimalismand other Contemporary art movements may all have their own special cow, pigor chicken clone advisory role to play.
What are the cultural aesthetics of our ecological future?
The decision to design livestock along a plurality of aesthetic lineages may have an impact on the future of ecology and diversity of our planet. As competitively designed meat factories take up more and more of the terrestrial grazing land, we have come to understand that we live on a planet dominated by humans and their domestic familiars. Designed and cloned livestock are limited editions but they can reproduce independently. The industry animals may be foreign species brought forth from technology but are they beautiful enough for us to want to live with them for generations to come. Sometimes real time back fat is not enough. There is an economy of aesthetics, which will effect the ecology of our engineered future.
What can an understanding of the arts bring to the table of livestock design?
The history of art may finally come to some use to humanity through agricultural and other replicant applications. This is a great asset and a great way to insure that the future isn't born looking dull, retrograde and a bit too sketchy. The admixture of global variety through genetic engineering and the cloning of spectacular hereditary cascades should only be approved through an aesthetic advisory commission made up of artists, art historians and aesthetics specialists. The future of style depends on collaboration between new reproductive biotechnology and the Arts.
I hope these issues will be taken into account as we sculpt new life from the media of biotechnology.
_ Adam Zaretsky