Friday, April 30, 2010...

is as good a day as any to finally post some larger versions of my GMO work (which was up at the show - see last post) from this semester past. These pieces are fairly wordy so I won't say too much here, other than that eight months ago I knew little and really cared little about food and agriculture, despite having grown up on farms and worked with plants and produce for years. From the ethics of production to impact of transportation, food and agriculture has been a topic of growing concern recently, and biotechnology, despite lurking in fields and supermarkets for over twenty years, is still a very mysterious and controversial topic.

Most North Americans probably aren't aware they've been consuming genetically modified foods on an almost daily basis for years now -I was certainly one of those before I started my research last Fall. What I can say is this: I went into the subject blind and neutral, thinking I would just do a quick piece on what made GM crops different from conventionally crossbred crops.

It certainly didn't take long to find myself leaning to one side of this hotly debated fence, and that was as much because of the concerns being raised as it was the fact that I had a great course on propaganda going on at that time and had the tools at my disposal to really dissect the arguments. I was strongly put off by the attitude and rhetoric of the pro-GM side, whose aggressive tactics were very telling of a group most certainly not motivated by the altruistic claims so often put behind Biotechnology. I certainly don't mean to imply all biotechnology is dubious - in the medicinal field it appears particularly useful and the risks better contained - but the current practice of crop biotechnology, influenced as it is by questionable political and economic factors, can neither be said to be safe nor forthcoming.

It was a real challenge to focus the information down and produce an illustration project out of it, mainly because there is a fine line between so much text that no one will want to read it and so much art that the information just becomes a pretty picture and loses credibility. In any case, I said I wouldn't talk TOO much, so without further ado, here is the 4 piece series (produced with watercolours and Adobe Illustrator).

*references available upon request, of course!

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