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Fall 2021 Newsletter: What Makes Us Human: An Art + Genomics Convergence

What Makes Us Human: An Art + Genomics Convergence

(Jennifer Parker, What Makes Us Human: An Art + Genomics Convergence, virtual exhibition and website, 2020-21) 

The unfolding pandemic triggered an existential reckoning over our conceptions of place and human encounter. Twenty years after UC Santa Cruz posted the assembled human genome to the internet, we found ourselves redefining and expanding genomics while masked and socially distanced. Simultaneously, the uprisings for Black lives and all silenced and underrepresented identities have brought visibility, urgency and profound pause.

What Makes Us Human: An Art + Genomics Convergence took the doors off the traditional gallery, imagining a space which transcends those walls. Visitors could view connections between diverse academic disciplines from unique and collaborative lenses of the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Some of the inquiry conducted by these collaborators examines what it means to be something other than human, simultaneously helping reveal what makes us human. How do we talk about our humanness? Which of our taxonomies intersect? And how can (virtual) space facilitate more of these intersections? How are humans furthering creative, scientific, and scholarly research while responding to the pandemic in our institutions, in our bodies, in our environments and in our communities? How can researchers be alone together and work collectively -- questioning, testing, and collaborating during COVID to educate communities at the intersection of art, culture, science, and politics?

See project feature in inquiry@UC Santa Cruz Research Magazine 2021-22