Paul Vanouse (USA)
“Ocular Revision” is an artwork using an alternate mechanism for the analysis and display of the DNA image. This novel circular “gel electrophoresis” device is designed as a focal point for reflecting upon a shift in the life sciences, from the study of “life itself” to a more reductive focus upon non-living DNA.
The work inverts the interpretation of a key trope used in contemporary genomics, and the basis of the terms “Genetic Map” or “DNA Mapping”. What the terms refer to is experimentally locating specific genes within DNA sequences. Making maps of DNA: DNA is the subject. In “Ocular Revision,” on the other hand, Paul Vanouse makes maps with DNA: DNA as medium. By selectively processing the DNA of common microorganisms, Paul Vanouse creates DNA electrophoresis images, resembling hemispheric images of the earth’s continents, which are shown as time-lapse images projected on dual circular screens.
In “Ocular Revision”, Paul Vanouse reasserts the physicality of DNA as a substance and medium, neither a command-code, nor a call to destiny, but a substance deeply enmeshed in the matrix of the living, that is not virtual nor purely symbolic, but continuous with a deep materiality of life and living processes.