Common Flowers, treating the genetic manipulation as common

Common Flowers

If more and more of the flowers we buy at florist are cloned and if food is less and less spottable as genetically manipulated, we are facing times when the intervention with the dna of different living organisms will be considered as pop culture. Common Flowers by Shiho Fukuhara and Georg Tremmel is a peculiar art project using genetic engineering to short-circuit the sophisticated system of GM (Genetically Modified) crops. First it relies on an exemplary case: the blue “Moondust” GM carnation that has been developed by the Japanese company Suntory. Even if the company could have got the permission to grow the flowers from authorities, they decided not to do that, but to outsource the growing and harvesting in Columbia – from there they are globally sold and shipped as cut-flowers. Fukuhara and Tremmel then purchased these cut-flowers and started technically cloning new plants from them, using the so-called Plant Tissue Culture method. It consists of DIY biotech methods, involving kitchen utensils and other materials that can be easily purchased. The plants are rated as “non harmful”, so the artists are bringing them back to life again, planting them into the environment, and then making them a Common. The controversial gesture, in the very spirit of the best “bio art” movement, addresses the abyss of bio manipulation and bioethical aspects. Both of them are just exposed and hacked, proving once more that (as Yukiko Shikata notes), natural codes have a lot in common with software, and so personally re-writing and releasing information becomes a powerful and challenging statement.