DNA Race

Interactive scientific competition
21st October 2006

Players: V2 lecture Rotterdam

Sometimes the debate is sparked off by the question of a scientist who thinks he is an artist, either through the effort of representation involved in his profession or because he considers that the creativity essential to his job is similar to artistic practice.

Proposing a symbolic action which raises the question of representation, not at the service of a hypothetical political objective, but of a better quality of interpretation.

The competition is such, in scientific circles, that making it tangible would reinforce the double challenge of the image and the performance.

Watching a presentation which includes an illustration of the way in which DNA twists around like a rope constantly being wound up.

DNA race :

One rope per team.

The rope is twisted, by default, to a fixed and pre-determined number of rotations.

To support their team, two scientists each pull on one end of the rope to tighten it as much as possible. The aim is not to pull the other in your direction, but to transform the twists and turns of the rope into a line as straight as possible.

Opposite a virtual reality screen (or in the Cave) is a race-mat (probably a reference to the work of Marnix de Nij Run Mother Fucker Run, that I saw here in Rotterdam). The sportsman in each team runs opposite the image inside the DNA chain, as though along a tubular track that would follow the least twists and turns of the physical rope. At the beginning of the race, the track is very irregular, with continuous ups and downs.

The difficulty of making the mat move along is linked to the virtual slope. The virtual slope is linked to the physical rope, which depends on the effort made by the team of scientists to turn the track into a straight line.

There could be sound, in rhythm to the race, to accompany the alternating DNA segments, possibly adding more difficulty, with each having to keep track of the interruptions and anomalies encountered on the way, as in a treasure chase.

One of the challenges of the competition might be to discover the mapping out, the representation of the genetic code that would be the easiest to deal with so that the researcher/competitor may keep track of anomalies as quickly as possible. Like a well-tuned racing car, the choices of representation made by each team would be proof of its ability to set up an efficient scientific tool.

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