koby barhad clones mice with elvis presley's DNA
koby barhad clones mice with elvis presley's DNA koby barhad clones mice with elvis presley's DNA
nov 04, 2013

koby barhad clones mice with elvis presley's DNA

all that I am by koby barhad
all images courtesy koby barhad




london-based designer koby barhad has joined a series of synthetic biologists and biohackers for ‘grow your own’, an exhibition hosted at the science gallery in dublin (on now through october 25th, 2013 through january 19th, 2014) . his project ‘all that I am’ utilizes hair samples from elvis presley that were bought on ebay, the installation examines the cultural day-to-day interactions with emerging genetic technologies, and its ramifications on the way society chooses to represent and understand life.


‘I’ve always been fascinated with humanity’s eternal need to quantify and define life,’ says barhad. ‘be it biology or physics, philosophy or biography, psychology or fiction — from frankenstein to ‘the god particle’. in my research I came across a private lab service that offers mice that are ‘genetically modified for your needs’. from that point I was just wondering whose behavioral mouse model I would like to design.’



‘all that I am’ by toby barhad
video courtesy tobybar





after sending the hair samples to a gene sequencing lab, the DNA was then used to identify different behavioral traits – from sociability and athletic performance to obesity and addiction. the information was then sent to a laboratory which produces transgenic cloned mice with specifically tailored genetics. the result is an ‘elvis mouse model’, made-to-order mice clones possessing parallel traits to the king of rock ‘n’ roll.





the genetically cloned mouse models of elvis are then tested in a number of contemporary mouse model environments, cages that simulate some of the significant biographical circumstances of elvis’ life. by exposing the mice models to similar scenarios as elvis, the project simulates specific day-in-the-life experiences. one of the cages has a distorted mirror to give a false sense of self-importance, representing the effects of fame and fortune. another has a sloped treadmill where the mouse model runs until it falls off, symbolizing the rock stars’ death.



cage 06 – escape (end)



construction detail



cage 01 – childhood



elvis’s hair bought on ebay and reciept for $22

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