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wednesday :: june 25, 2003
one trees project: genetic determinism and environmental influence

One Trees project by Natalie Jeremijenko is a public experiment that plants pairs of genetically identical trees -clones - throughout the San Francisco Bay Area's diverse microclimates and social contexts. Because the trees are genetically identical, as they grow they reveal the social and environmental differences to which they are exposed.

Cloning has made it possible to Xerox copy organic life and confound the traditional understanding of individualism and authenticity. In the public sphere, genetics is often reduced to 'finding the gene for .... (fill in the blank)', misrepresenting the complex interactions with environmental influences. The debate that contrasts genetic determinism and environmental influence has consequences for understanding our own agency in the world, be it predetermined by genetic inevitability or constructed by our actions and environment. The One Trees project is a forum for public involvement in this debate, a shared experience with actual material consequences.

There are also electronic components of the project which include Artificial Life (A-Life) trees that simulate the growth of the biological trees on your computer desktop. The growth rate of these simulated trees is controlled by a Carbon Dioxide meter (CO2 ). The project juxtaposes the simulated (A-Life) trees and their biological counterparts, so doing demonstrate what simulation don't represent as much as what they do.

Each of the tree(s) can be compared by viewers in the public places they are planted, to become a long, quiet and persisting spectacle of the Bay Area's diverse environment and a demonstration of a very different information environment. >from *One Trees. An information environment*.

related context
CleanRooms: art and biotechnology exhibition. october 9, 2002
> next sex. ars electronica 2000. september 2-7, 2000
> Working with wetware - design, technology, and the body by John Thackara. april, 1997
> Art and Genetics Bibliography. Leonardo On-Line

exercise with photocopies of trees

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