Paul Vanouse

Latent Figure Protocol

Latent Figure Protocol takes the for m of a m edia installation that uses DNA samples to create emergent representational i m ages. The installation includes a live science experi m ent, the result of which is videotaped and repeated for the duration of the gallery exhibit. Employing a reactive gel and electrical current, Latent Figure Protocol produces images that relate directly to the DNA samples used. In the first experi m ent, a copyright symbol is derived fro m the DNA of an industrially-produced organis m (a plasm id called “pET-11a”), illu m inating ethical questions around the changing status of organic life and the ownership of living organisms. Vanouse states “A DNA fingerprint is often mis-understood by the lay public to be a single, unique human identifier. Its complex banding patterns i m agined as an unchanging sentence written by m other nature herself that corresponds to each living creature. However, there are hundreds of different enzy m es, pri m ers and m olecular probes that can be used to seg m ent DNA and produce banding patterns. These banding patterns that appear tell us as m uch about the enzyme/primer/probe as the subject that they appear to reproduce. My point is that the DNA gel image IS a cultural construct that is too often naturalized.”

Paul Vanouse has been working in emerging media forms since 1990. Interdisciplinary and impassioned amateurism guide his art practice. His electronic cine m a, biological experi m ents, and interactive installations have been exhibited in 19 countries and widely across the US. Vanouse is an Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo , NY where he is also co-Director of the Emerging Practices MFA program .