Meet the installation artist’s Lucy Glendinning’s “Feather Child:” a downey hybrid, the bird/human rests quietly in fetal position, moving only slightly in her sleep. With this offering, Glendinning asks viewers if “we [will] be able to resist” the potential to genetically enhance our human experiences. Inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus, she imagines future humans treating our DNA as a medium of expression and wish-fulfillment; in the poem accompanying the sculpture, she envisions feathers like “A decoration applied with / a gene, not a needle.” 

 

 

Using the human ambition as her content and the human body as her medium, Glendinning explores the allure and dangers of artificially propelling human evolution. “Feather Child” rests, innocent and tenderly sleeping, unaware of what awaits her when she opens her velvety eyes.

 

 

The feminist psychologist Dorothy Dinnerstein once posited that mythical animal-human hybrids (like mermaids and centaurs) capture the idea that we humans are simultaneously in harmony and in disagreement from the natural world; in her words, those like “Feather Child” tap into “both a sense of strangeness on earth and the possible key to a way of feeling at home here.” “Feather Child” is painfully uncanny, eliciting both empathy and fear.  What happens if we make these fantastical beings a reality? Take a look. 

 

 

Thanks to iGNANT

Images via iGNANT

All images © Lucy Glendinning

Tagged in: sculpture, science, poetry, mermaids, medicine, lucy glendinning, genetic modification, feather child, DNA, centaurs, art, animals   

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