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Ctrl. + Z: A DNA | ZOO for the 21st Century

Part 2 Dissertation 2012
Caitlyn Manicom
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa
Our relationship with animals provides us with a useful mirror of society. The incomprehension between man and any other species forces us to project emotions and meaning onto them, in order to understand them. This synapse of ambiguity creates a void to be filled with questions, curiosity, mechanisms of meaning, and guilt.

How do we undo and prevent animal extinction?

The ever-expanding human population has hindered the natural migration of animals. To compensate, we build artificial landscapes to preserve animals. These constructs form new versions of reality, into which we file nature, so that it corresponds with human logic. It is now possible to reinstate some of the lost natural order by establishing a network of genetics between zoos, natural history museums, and nature reserves. In the process of collecting animal DNA data, we are creating a backup system for animals in the future.

My thesis proposes the integration of the concepts of game reserve, zoo, natural history museum, and cryobank into a single ‘DNA Zoo’ concept for the 21st century. This new typology instates a sort of 'virtual' zoo (through a tissue bank) onto the existing 'physical' zoo typology. Visitors encounter the animals of the existing zoo through the understanding that they are there to provide samples for the tissue bank. In time, we start to question - which is more ‘real’ - the physical animals or their cloneable tissue samples.

Caitlyn Manicom

Tutor(s)
Professor Hilton Judin
2012
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