Theory, Culture and Society 22 (1):153-171 (2005)

This article takes as its starting point and its main problematic the status of evolution as a ‘sterile belief’ in contemporary technoscientific culture. Focusing in particular on the role of evolution across the boundaries of art and science in the contexts of artificial life and transgenic engineering, it offers a critique of the belief in evolutionary possibility as an abstract process. The lack of what François Jacob refers to as a dialogue between the possible and the actual is seen to account for the sterility of evolutionary possibility and for its status as myth. In particular, evolutionary possibility recalls the myth of metamorphoses, the conservatism of which is demonstrated in an analysis of two art/science works - Galápagos by Karl Sims and Genesis by Eduardo Kac. Lacking a dialogue with the actual, metamorphic evolutionary possibility here becomes self-referential and produces nothing new. Rather than a rejection of evolution per se, this article takes up Jacob’s critique of its over-extension by showing how this operates in two works representing the fields of artificial life and transgenesis respectively.
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DOI 10.1177/0263276405048439
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References found in this work BETA

Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology.Evelyn Fox Keller - 1996 - Journal of the History of Biology 29 (2):312-313.
Evolution as a Religion.Mary Midgley - 2008 - Filosoficky Casopis 56:129-133.
The Intellectual Context of Artificial Life.M. A. Boden - 1996 - In Margaret A. Boden (ed.), The Philosophy of Artificial Life. Oxford University Press. pp. 1--35.

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