Thoughts for ‘Final Frontier’

22 08 2011

Recently I wrote about an opportunity to be part of an upcoming exhibition ‘Final Frontier‘. So many ideas played around in my mind about what I could make for such a show … there were so many science fiction movies to be inspired by…

The first idea, which was immediate upon reading the brief, was to make a piece inspired by movie ‘Code 46‘. This is more a speculative kind of science fiction, not so much with the crazy graphics and special effects etc.

In this future world, most people have no knowledge of their biological parents. To avoid genetically-related individuals creating unhealthy babies together, couples wanting to marry or engage in reproductive sex need to be tested. The text at the start of the film explains it as follows:

code 46
article 1

any human being who shares the same nuclear gene set as another human being is deemed to be genetically identical.
the relationship of one are the relations of all.

due to IVF, DI embryo splitting and cloning techniques it is necessary to prevent any accidental or deliberate genetically incestuous reproduction.


i. all prospective parents should be genetically screened before conception. if they have 100%, 50% or 25% genetic identity, they are not permitted to conceive

ii. if the pregnancy is unplanned, the foetus must be screened, any pregnancy resulting from 100%, 50%, or 25% genetically related parents must be terminated immediately

iii. if the parents were ignorant of their genetic relationship then medical intervention is authorised to prevent any further breach of code 46

I thought of making a portable kind of self-identifier containing the specific DNA information that could be compared to another’s to test the degree of genetic relation. The obvious shape is that of the double-helix for the DNA … the below image is taken from the film:

from film 'Code 46'; at 59m50s

Naturally I had ideas of including a thin panel of my woven paper and fine silver … somewhere, somehow … and that it would be ideal as a long pendant.

I had lots of ideas … but they just didn’t want to chrystallise. I think was got in the way was that I really wanted to understand the DNA structure accurately, and in trying to research it online I found the text wasn’t really ‘for dummies’; so I felt I had components of understanding, but found it hard to put it all together into a cohesive picture. Therefore, couldn’t feel I had the design ‘right’.

Other films that also came to mind were: Gattaca, Aeon Flux, Metropolis, the original Tron … and even some of the old-school Star Trek; my friend suggested Blade Runner (which I’m sure I’ve seen but cannot remember, so it’s now on the ‘to-watch’ list).

What is your favourite science fiction film and what would you make to reference it?? It’s cool thought-play for a lazy few hours…



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