Canadian poet Christian Bök plans to write poetry into the genetic code of bacteria. The project, dubbed Xenotext, was inspired by a previous feat of genetic engineering in which microorganisms were made to carry the tune of Disney’s “It’s a Small World (After All)” in their DNA. When the Xenotext poem is implanted into an organism it causes it to create a new protein that encodes the poem. “I foresee that, in the future, DNA might become another poetic medium, creating poems that can survive forever,” says Bok. “Later civilizations may not understand the language, but its presence, like hieroglyphs, will testify to the enduring legacy of our own civilization,” he says. The Xenotext Experiment has interesting implications for the way we store information, modify our bodies, and preserve our legacy.
References: Dazed and Confused, Volume 2 Issue 77#; Technology Review