"Animal Patterning Project” is a bio-art and interactive new media project that explores the concept of genetically altering the patterning of animal skins to make them more aesthetic for human exploitation and later usage in garments and accessories.
An animal’s patterning can serve practical purposes; it can stop an animal from being eaten because its unique patterning can signal that it is poisonous to its predators and it can provide other animals with the ability to camouflage themselves and avoid detection by blending into their environment.
Transgenically altering an animal's skin patterning may result in that animal not being able to adapt to its own environment; it may not be able to reproduce, become unattractive to suitable mates or become unable to camouflage itself to escape from potential predators. It may cause other unwanted mutations or diseases that may affect related species by gene flow (the escape of inserted transgenes into related crops or wild plants which could happen with animals as well). It may become poisonous when consumed by other animals previously dependent on it for food, thereby creating a gap or disruption in the food chain.
"Animal Patterning Project" will be achieved by actually “growing” living organisms/tissues in a lab environment and developing their desired patterning over time. Additionally an animation video (created with Adobe Illustrator, AfterEffects, Premiere, Photoshop and Flash) will display possible design concepts for animal patterning (designs were achieved by photographing taxidermined animals at the Museum of Natural History and then converting those bitmapped photographs to two or 3D vector images and then animating them). The two or 3D images can be projected onto all four surfaces of an enclosed room or on the exterior of a building creating a virtual sculpture.
The designs can also be made interactive using motion tracking and modifiable over time by introducing random artifical intelligence like behaviors created in Aftereffects/Flash that once initiated by the user will take on a life of its own, simulating biological mutation. Viewers could have the ability to start with a given animal's pattern (zebra, leopard, tiger or giraffe) and morph/mutate the pattern over time to create new life forms embodying new patterning beyond the control of the user.
Animal Patterning Project is in the collection of Rhizome at the New Museum and is included in “Infinite Instances” published by Random House.