Daniel & Esther

Tribute to Michel Houellebec

In his novel The Possibility of an Island Michel Houellebecq (Daniel’s character) reaches beyond the natural embryonic genesis process to forecast a future where scientists will be able to clone an adult human being from his chemical components and the structuring information contained in his genitor’s DNA.

A human body is made of water (60%), carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iodine, iron and seven more elements as traces.

The sculpture features the chemical « bodies » of Daniel and Esther  –  the two main characters of the novel. Each body is made of a clear tank filled with water, a stack of graphite particles, various vials, erlenmeyers and test tubes containing the exact amount of the chemicals listed above plus compressed oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen tanks. Both the graphite – shiny black like lava beads – and the vertical assembly of tanks and containers are reminiscent of the novel’s Island of Lanzarote location.  Underneath the chemicals’ island lays Houellebecq’s island – and the possibility of love – in the form of printed pages of the novel. Floating above the bodies, two test tubes contain genomic DNA samples.

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