Many environmentally friendly campaigns that use slogans such as “Protect Mother Nature” and “Heal our Mother, Earth”, fail to consider the implications of directly connecting the female gender to nature, especially when one exists in a predominantly patriarchal society.
This past Saturday, I volunteered for Victoria’s “Hox Zodiac” event. The Hox Zodiac event is inspired by genetics (the Hox genes), food, the Chinese zodiac, and the broad theme of equality across all humans and animals on Earth. During the event, varying foods and drinks are offered; every food and drink is representative of a certain animal of the Chinese Zodiac, for each item is either something that animal would eat, or is an offering of that animal’s meat itself.
Upon deeper reflection and analysis of Maru’s vivarium, I have realized deeper symbols and metaphors that may be taken away from the exhibit. To begin, I first want to draw attention to the nature of the “performer” inside the vivarium. A human subject sits inside the vivarium with the plants, insects and all other materials that exist within the confines of the glass. Although the human subject is able to see and hear the individuals standing outside the vivarium, the performer does not often interact with, or acknowledge, the people on the other side of the glass.
Coming from the State of Indiana, the move to California implied that I would become acquainted with a new, different enclave of laws, regulations and ideologies. Such phenomena are apparent in my everyday life, such as the Proposition 65 signs that live in my apartment building, the coffee shops I enjoy, and most other places.
In 2017, Los Angeles issued a new recycling program named “RecycLA”. RecycLA provides a franchise service provider that is available to everyone in the city of Los Angeles; before the “RecycLA” program, there were multiple private haulers that would provide service at varying rates and quantities. The program requires businesses and multi-family buildings to recycle. Prior to the new program, recycling was voluntary. I am very interested to know many of the materials that we recycle end up in the trash, and how many are indeed successfully recycled.
I am wearing my indigo-dyed T-shirt as I type this blog post. Lecture three began with a YouTube video exemplifying the process of extracting and creating Indigo dye. The process included the use of Indigofera plants, which supply a source of the blue dye compound. Such process included the addition of few ingredients, and resulted in dye that is capable, yet vulnerable to environmental conditions.
During the beginning of lecture, the professor and visiting student (Maru) mentioned the vivarium. A vivarium is an enclosed space for life that is often surrounded by glass and allows containment of an environment inside one’s own home/space (Soper 2017). The vivarium is traditionally thought of as a tool for researchers, for the enclosure allows scientists to study plants, animals, and other organisms in a controlled and confined space.
The word “biotechnology” tends to invoke thoughts of computers, genetic technology, test tubes, and other laboratory materials. Bread is a technology, and could be argued to be one of the most important innovations in human history (along with the invention of rice). Nawar’s project, merging the biotechnology of bread with social and political activism, exemplifies the many ways that science and biotechnology infiltrate our everyday lives.