Lively Material, 2016-18
Single channel video
Lively Material follows a thought from the mind of the artist into the body of a genetically modified organism, the laboratory workhorse E. coli. The thought is translated by the artist from a spoken phrase, voiced by Mackenzie into a code that becomes represented as physical material: synthetic DNA, stored within the body of a living organism. The lively material of the organism becomes both container and commodity in the context of the laboratory, used to store and generate DNA for use in scientific research. Through a subtle feminist narrative, Mackenzie explores how her relationship to lively material alters when DNA is stored within the organism in a cultural, rather than scientific context.
Filmed on location at the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle and the Centre for Speech Technology Research, Edinburgh.