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Sheila ie : The Spelling of Disaster

Thu. January 16th 2003 - Wed. January 22nd 2003
Nothing spells disaster more succinctly than the global production, circulation and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Foods.

Genetic Engineering in food, is the process of artificially modifying the natural gene information within a living organism. As an economic and political motivations threaten to govern our natural food supply, corporations are gambling with the DNA of fruit, fish, human, insect, and vegetable organisms. The outcome are frankenfoods, uncontrolled genetically altered produce, created to enhance crop resistance to insects and herbacides as well to increase crop value and supply. Many of the seeds used are self terminating, this means that the seeds do not follow a natural cycle of growth. The crop grows. It is harvested. And it dies. We are told that this is to ensure that GMOs do not contaminate other non-GMO crops, however this locks the GMO farmer to a dependance on the biotech company to purchase new seeds and fertilizers year after year. Although there are GMO seeds that do regenerate anything that the plant produces after the initial crop remains property of the biotech company that owns the copyright to the genetic code of the plant and cannot be used sequentially. If grown to any capacity the farmer will be liable for prosecution for unregistered use of these patented seeds.

Apart from the concerns pertaining to biotech economic and political monopoly these GMOs also pose a threat to global health and well being. These are newly engineered species and their long term impacts on the human body are still unknown. Many scientists fear that these genetically modified hybrids may instigate the development of unidentifiable toxins and allergens as well as motivate the spread of cross species disease.

During the 2002 food crisis situation in Southern Africa, USAID offered Malawai, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid with a stipulation that it could only be used on un-milled GMO grain. Zambia rejected the aid on the basis of the potential for its quote "adverse effects on humanity."

While concern over GMOs is growing in Europe, North America continues to follow a path that will lead to the pollution of food and the environment. As a major producer of agriculture this has a particular significance in Alberta where the case for and against the use of GMOs has had little public discussion. This work intends to illicit a personal and public reflection on the use of GMOs in agricultural production globally and nationally.

It is primarily the activity of the following six companies that have motivated this piece titled The Spelling of Disaster, 2003

The work will be composed of 3" high gloss grey viinyl lettering affixed onto one of the gallery walls vertically listing the five following companies.

-Monsanto
-Syngenta
-Bayer Cropscience
-Dow
-Dupont
-Cargill

The labels identify the main biotech producers and dispensers of genetically modified seeds that are currently attempting global agricultural domination.

Successful dissemination of the Spelling of Disaster, 2003 relies heavily on a word of mouth exchange of the pertinent information regarding the nature of the 6 textual labels publicly displayed.
Presented by: The Ministry of Casual Living