Friday, January 18, 2013

Wow. I

Have you ever heard of Christian Bök? Me neither. He's a poet, and unless you're really into poetry, you tend not to hear about poets. At least not living ones. But this dude, this crazy genius, has created a living poem encoded in the DNA of a bacteria. Read more about it here, and let me know if you understand it. Basically he encoded a short poem within a strand of DNA, injected it into an especially hardy bacterial organism, which triggered the organism to create a protein that, when decoded, hides it's own little verse. The result is fairly lovely:

Any style of life / is prim
The faery is rosy / of glow
I am astonished. Is it just me, or is it amazing in here? And this leads to all kinds of fun questions, like what will artists think about genetically engineered art? Is the art in this case the product or the process or both? Either way, it's pretty rad. Also, this is supposedly a harmless bacteria, but what if this is a Patient 0 scenario? The poetic DNA causes the organism to mutate, spread uncontrollably, and pollute the world with raving undead disease that causes all the infected to quote verse while shuffling rhythmically in iambic pentameter, sort of like your average college professor. Coeds will be the first victims as they won't be able to tell the difference. Maybe it's happening already?

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