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Dynamic Genetics vs Man - Superflux

From tissue biopsy samples to an improvised CO2 incubator used in the manufacture of counterfeit genetic therapies, ‘Dynamic Genetics v Mann’ presents a body of evidence from a fictional court case. Unfolding as a rich narrative, this new project from Superflux explores a world where designed and patented genetic material enters the human body through illicit means.


History has shown that political and economic forces exert as great an influence on the development and application of technology as the aspirations of scientists and engineers. ‘Dynamic Genetics vs. Mann’ explores the technological trajectory of synthetic biology, extrapolating from current social, economic and political trends so as to locate the technology within a broader cultural landscape.

This project imagines a world in which synthetic biology and gene therapy have moved from the lab to the marketplace. In this world, the responsibilities of the state have shifted from healthcare to the provision of health insurance. By calculating the likely impact of specific gene combinations, insurance rates are adjusted on a person-by-person basis, ensuring that individual ‘contributions’ more accurately reflect the potential costs associated with their genome.

What new legal and economic models might emerge under these conditions? How will intellectual property be applied and policed when designed genetic material makes its way into people’s bodies and their lives? Who are the winners and losers in such a world?

The Exhibit
The primary plot of ‘Dynamic Genetics v Mann’ reveals the increasing vulnerability of protagonist Arnold Mann, an ‘ordinary citizen’ whose insurance contributions spike dramatically after a regulatory spit test from the NHI (National Health Insurance) reveals elevated risks across a range of chronic health conditions in his genetic profile. Caught between an inflated health levy and the staggering cost of private treatment, a desperate Arnold turns to a black market clinic for a gene upgrade. This treatment will reduce his health insurance bill at the cost of permanently modifying his DNA with patented, but unlicensed therapy.

The collection of evidence presented in the exhibition, including an interrogation video, alongside other corroboratory, forensic, scientific, digital and material evidences, make a strong case against Mann, who is accused by Dynamic Genetics, a major corporation in the genetic therapy industry, of illegally possessing their proprietary DNA. Items including tissue biopsy samples, covert surveillance photographs, genetic search warrant, ‘found’ documents, newspaper clippings, and an improvised CO2 incubator, are presented by G5P, a private security agency hired by Dynamic Genetics to carry out the investigation.

Visitors to the work are encouraged to explore the body of evidence, piecing together this foreboding story that questions the ethical and economic implications of the new forms of genetic technology that are quietly transforming our world.

Blueprints for the Unknown Exhibition, overview

Dynamic Genetics vs Man - Superflux
Dynamic Genetics vs Man - Superflux