GENETICS GYM


The Genetics Gym is a narrative installation investigating human cognition of genes ‘genetics’ and memes ‘memetics’ as appeal, attraction, or beauty

The Genetics Gym is a research project, depicting a calculated fiction of modified bodies, across five fictional brands, edited with hypothetical new and emerging genetic technologies, allowing in-depth exploration to question how the internet is affecting human behaviour. The project, spanning 5 years (2016-2021), is built upon the Darwinian construct that what an evolutionary biologist might term perception of genetic strength, we might term appeal, attraction, or ‘sexiness’, now playing out in a vastly complex new media age. The project is built upon Marshall McLuhan’s theories on electric circuitry as an extension of the central nervous system, Norbert Weiner’s cybernetic theories, and evolutionary psychology.
As an ongoing speculation, the project is designed to engage varied audiences and perspectives into a multi-layered conversation on the effects of new media today, with emphasis upon marginalised identities and homogenisation, observing the link between cognitive perception of genes and visual appeal playing out within contemporary popular culture.

Keywords - Artificial Intelligence, Consumer Psychology, CRISPR, Fashion Futures, Genetics, Modifiable Bodies, Post-Humanism








Brain-Body-Society, 2017, Graphic Illustration conceptualising the connection between cognition of visual proportions and mathematics, and appropriation of individual bodies
Install View, Genetics Gym Projection in the Gallery, 2017

Body Scanning with Facial Tracking, 2017
Illustration: Brain-Body-Society, Character no5

Gallery visitors observe the characters blinking, breathing, moving and slowly morphing between the five different ‘perceptions of success’
Character Number One, body edited according to the first brand’s ideology or ‘perception of success’

Illustration: Brain-Body-Society, Character no1 (detail)
Illustration: Brain-Body-Society, Character no1






Research document showing brand outlines aligning with the five characters to create twenty-five portraits, including the ‘menu’ of genetic components required for the body-morphs situated within gallery installation
Research document

Research document (detail)


Research document showing five different drivers defining scope for theoretical context study; Genetic Tech Development, Photographic Tech Development, Shift in Media / Human Interaction, Shift in Public Anxiety, Perception of Disability, 1975 - 2045 

Research document (detail)
Research document (detail)
Character Number Five, body edited according to the first brand’s ideology or ‘perception of success’


Commissioned by the Fashion Space Gallery

Creative & Strategic Direction - Adam Peacock
Project Management - Fashion Space Gallery Team

Research
Research Lead - Adam Peacock
Applied Psychology Consultant - Prof. Carolyn Mair (London College of Fashion)
Genetic Technology Consultant - Dr. Helen C. O’Neill (UCL)
Genetic Technology Research - Ashley Campbell, Liane Stein (UCL)
Research Assistants - Dian-Jen Lin, Isabela Branca Gygax, Lara Gill (London College of Fashion) 
Research Workshop Attendees, Design - Dian-Jen Lin, Hew Wang, Jo Cope, Siyang Meng, Voranida Rujekitnara, Yuqing Lai (London College of Fashion), Anderson Dalle Laste (London College of Communication)
Research Workshop Attendees, Psychology - Prof. Roberta Degnore (Fashion Institute of Technology NYC), David Adams, James Boag (London College of Fashion)
Research Workshp Attendees, Genetic Technology - Dr. Helen C. O’Neill, Ashley Campbell, Liane Stein, Rachel Ho (UCL)
Research Workshop Photography - Celia Tang (London College of Fashion)
Research Symposium Chairs - Adam Peacock & Lynne Murray (Digital Anthropology Lab)
Research Symposium, on Social Policy & Mental Health - Duncan Stephenson (Royal Society for Public Health)
Research Symposium, on Genetic Technology - Prof. Joyce Harper (UCL), Dr. Helen C. O’Neill (UCL)
Research Symposium, on Synthetic Biology & Speculative Bodies - Dr. Agatha Haines (Cognovo Research Lab)
Research Symposium, on Plastic Surgery - Dr. Barry M. Jones (Royal College of Surgeons)
Research Symposium, on Computer Science - Henrique Mathias (Feeld)

Production
Videography, Post-Production, Styling - Adam Peacock 
Sound Artist - Timothy Wang aka TWANG
Makeup Artist - Tamara Dickson-Jones (London College of Fashion)
Production Assistants - Celia Tang, Dian-Jen Lin, Isabela Branca Gygax, Lara Gill (London College of Fashion)
Technical Equipment - Adam Grice, Alex Burgess, Dimitrios Coumados, James Montgomery, Kate Allen
Model Casting - Adam Peacock / The Validation Junky
Model Number One - Wing Yue Leung
Model Number Two - Hermione Fallow Callow
Model Number Three - Brendan Howley
Model Number Four - Thomas Wade Nichols
Model Number Five - John Kamau
Graphic Illustrations Drawings - Adam Peacock
Graphic Illustrations Printing - theprintspace
Research Document Production - Adam Peacock

Dissemination
Exhibition Design - Adam Peacock
Technical Install - Fergus O’Connor, Manoj Mistry, Steven Legget
Exhibition & Behind-The-Scenes Photography & Videography - Adam Peacock, Dian-Jen Lin, Isabela Branca Gygax, James Sanders, John Duff
Exhibition & Behind-The-Scenes Photography & Videography Edit - Adam Peacock, Isabela Branca Gygax

With ongoing support by Praksis Oslo, Arts Council Norway, City of Oslo, Science Gallery Dublin, Science Gallery Melbourne, Reproductive Science and Women's Health MSc, University College London, Digital Anthropology Lab, University of the Arts London

The project would have not been possible without the generosity of conversation, critique, ideas, wisdom, energy, and patience from Adrien Weinert, Alex McIntosh, Charalambos Demetriou, Charlotte Baker, Dai Rees, Eelko Moorer, Frances McGarry, Janne Baetsen, Lara Sanjar, Mouhannad Al-Sayegh, Neil Hubbard, Nigel Luck, Nilgin Yusuf, Peter Hill, Susan Postlethwaite, Ted Hunt, Yener Bayramoglu, Zowie Broach