This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.
I’ve always been quite fascinated with birth charts and the concept of nature versus nurture—whether the year in which people were born affected the way they carry themselves more than their circumstances. My horoscope (Sagittarius with a Leo rising and Pisces moon) as well as my dragon zodiac have always been referenced as a reliable narration of my life and personality (which retrospectively, may have been largely contributed to by self-fulfilling prophecy?).
My Chinese zodiac animal is the rabbit. The interesting thing about this is that I was born in the year 2000 which means I should be the year of the dragon. But, since I was born in January 2000, this falls into the year 1999 based on the lunar calendar, hence why I am technically the year of the rabbit! The rabbit is ranked fourth in the list of zodiac animals. The origin story of the zodiac animals is that the Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards.
Being born in the year 2000 became a personality trait for me. I was born at the start of the new millennium, when conspiracy theorists predicted that humankind would perish due to computer software issues. Who would have thought? I was also born a year after NATO aggressors have bombed my village and turned my parents’ country upside down. I was also born about a year before the catastrophic events of 9/11.
For Week 3, I investigated the wonders of yeast by baking my own bread in my kitchen. I used the YouTube recipe provided by this class.
At first, I was nervous because I had never made "raw" bread before. I had made banana bread before, but this was a completely different recipe. When I make banana bread, I don't knead the bread by hand (or at all) or use instant yeast. This was a completely new experience for me. Because I did not have measuring tools for the very specific measurements such as for the 1/4 tsp, I eyeballed the tiny measurements.
I was born in 2001, so my zodiac sign is the snake. I’ve known this, of course, for as long as I can remember, but I never really looked into what it means. I never knew my direction was south, my taste is bitter, and my organ is… the spleen. It seems that my zodiac sign is heavily tied to the idea of heat because my season is summer, my color is red, my disease indicates that I will be hot, my element is fire, and my heavenly creature is the vermillion bird. Heat, fire, and action all seem to be neatly tied together in the characteristics of the snake.
I was born in 2001, the year of the snake. I lived in Singapore for a while when I was a child, and I remember celebrating the new zodiac every year. It was always special to see how everyone respected the signs equally and how each zodiac would tell us what was in store for the coming year. I also always felt connected to the people born with the same zodiac sign.
This week, I was super excited to learn about my Chinese Zodiac sign and the Hox Zodiac project. Priorly, I knew that I was born in the year of the Dragon (2000), but I knew little to nothing about the stories behind that and what that actually meant.
So I started my search by googling zodiac sign. I never looked into zodiac signs so it was an adventure down a rabbit hole to learn about them. My zodiac sign is Gemini and my Chinese zodiac sign is Dog. Putting these two together reminded of the greek mythology Orthrus, which a dog-like creature with two heads.
Zodiac signs and astrology have never been something I really followed or believed in. Recently however, I have opened up more to the possibility that there may be some truth to it. I am a Pisces and I was born in the year of the rabbit. I never truly felt I aligned with the Pisces zodiac sign which was the origin of my skepticism in the whole thing. However, after reading about the rabbit Chinese sign I can see a lot of the rabbit attributes in myself.
I was born in May 2000, so my Chinese Animal Zodiac is the dragon. I remember when I was younger, my older brothers had just learned about Chinese animal zodiacs in school and we were discussing them at the dinner table. In many respects, I was not as confident as my brothers. Because they were older than me, I often felt that I would never be as strong or as smart as them, and I never felt this sentiment stronger than during our dinnertime conversations. However, when we discussed Chinese animal zodiacs for the first time, I actually felt very empowered.
I was born in March 1999 during the year of the rabbit. I have always felt a connection to this animal since they had a kind and soft connotation and not to mention are very adorable. It was to my surprise that this animal ruled the large intestines which is a not so cute organ. However, the large intestine is a treasured part of my body as I love eating and need it to help me digest a lot of food.
I never looked at my Zodiac signs before, and so I was surprised to find out that I’m a dragon. I started by looking at the attributes of a dragon to see how much they compared with my own attributes.
This week I was able to learn more about my Chinese zodiac sign, which is the tiger. I was born in 1999, but because my birthday is January 13th and falls before Chinese new year, I am still in the year of the tiger. Through the Hox gene website, I was able to learn more about different symbols and character traits that are associated with the tiger.
This assignment came as a surprise to me; I wasn’t very interested or necessarily invested in these types of representations, but this cultural adventure was appealing. I, for one, am skeptical about zodiac signs, however. I don’t necessarily think that everyone who falls into the category has a parallel personality trait. Although there were aspects about the Rabbit that I couldn’t connect with, I did realize that some of them were quite symbolic and representative.