Paul Malone : Beware Genetic Chicks 2021

'Beware Genetic Chicks 2021' Toys, text, mirror melanex, astroturf : APT Art Yard, London. July 2021.
About the Artwork

Chick embryos are the preferred material in genetic experimentation and, in this darkly humorous commentary, I dwell on the vulnerability of this kind of conceit to get out of hand. Either by the willful behavior of the experimentees or the unforeseen consequences of the experiments themselves.

There are references to the Shoggoths of H.P. Lovecraft, the ‘nuclear chicken’ frittage of Corentin Louis Kevran and various attempts to resurrect dinosaur life forms by lateral genetic transfer. Sometimes the army has to be called in….

Some of the escapees were positioned on various bits of street furniture down Creeksdie. Warning notices were posted advising visitors who found escapees in the street outside please to not approach but to inform the security services immediately.

This iteration is a re-working of my 'Beware Genetic Chicks' of 2012 in light of the current speculation surrounding the genetic enhancement of pathogens.

Kervran initiated his fascination for science with the apparent enigma of eggshell formation. As a youth Kervran had read a reference to Louis Nicolas Vauquelin's observations on the formation of eggshell in Gustave Flaubert's "Bouvard et Pécuchet". Kervran later succeeded in finding Vauquelin's original text on the apparent anomalous increase in calcium in a chicken whose diet is limited to potassium-rich oats. How did it continue to produce eggs with calcareous shells on a calcium poor diet on a soil entirely lacking in limestone?

In response to Kervran ideas Nuclear scientists stated if the chickens were to turn potassium into calcium at the rate of several grams a day, the released nuclear fusion energy of the order of 8 MeV would have turned them into atom bombs. Kervran rationalized this discrepancy by believing that the transformation of potassium into calcium (transmutation) happened at low energy.

"It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train - a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter." H.P.Lovecraft

Images of the Installation (click to enlarge)