OMNI SERIES Art and Genetics in a Digital Age (2004)

CHRIS TWOMEY’S new media installation, “OMNI SERIES, Art and Genetics in a Digital Age,” celebrates diversity and our shared humanity as we reflect on our genetic future.

Twomey’s installation includes 70 images of navels that are digitally re-coded from their photographic source, obtained at last August’s HOWL Festival in the East Village. A hand written, unbroken line of text and data about recent genetic developments threads through the images, and leads the viewer to the gallery garden, where an 11 foot sculpture completes the experience. “OMNI SERIES” refers to “Omphalus,” another word for navel and in Greek mythology, a totem regarded as the center of the earth.

“The umbilical cord was once the core of our existence/nourishment and our most profound human bond,” says Twomey. “It also contains the stem cells that help shape our destiny with their unique genetic code.”

At the opening, a live camera collected ...

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CHRIS TWOMEY’S new media installation, “OMNI SERIES, Art and Genetics in a Digital Age,” celebrates diversity and our shared humanity as we reflect on our genetic future.

Twomey’s installation includes 70 images of navels that are digitally re-coded from their photographic source, obtained at last August’s HOWL Festival in the East Village. A hand written, unbroken line of text and data about recent genetic developments threads through the images, and leads the viewer to the gallery garden, where an 11 foot sculpture completes the experience. “OMNI SERIES” refers to “Omphalus,” another word for navel and in Greek mythology, a totem regarded as the center of the earth.

“The umbilical cord was once the core of our existence/nourishment and our most profound human bond,” says Twomey. “It also contains the stem cells that help shape our destiny with their unique genetic code.”

At the opening, a live camera collected new image samples of people/navels to enrich the exhibition source. These new images of navels were digitized so that one person is seen through another’s filter, suggestive of genetic cloning and in keeping with Twomey’s interest in our self-identity. A DVD displayed the metamorphosis of navels to universes as a reflection of the infinite diversity of the stem cells. This process is ongoing. Through www.christwomey.com, more people continue to be invited to pick filters and join the OMNI SERIES.

A related panel discussion, also entitled, “Art and Genetics in a Digitial Age,” took place on Friday, May 21, 2004, at Artists Talk on Art. Chris Twomey moderated this discussion, which also featured artist and author Suzanne Anker, artists Steve Miller and Kevin Clarke, and Columbia U. geneticist Dr. Max Gottesman. 10% of the proceeds from the OMNI SERIES show will be donated to stem cell research.

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