Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry is edited by Jessica L. Wilkinson and supported by RMIT and the non/fictionLab. This visual essay, titled ‘Create-an-Animal, a genre-blending visual essay’ appears in the Reportage issue (number 34) in 2022. The essay reports my research into the ways the fictional bio-engineered creatures in Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy relate to real world bioengineering experiments. By juxtaposing Atwood’s fiction with real world scientific reporting, and my visual interpretations of both as quasi-scientific specimen charts, provides an additional ‘threshold for interpretation’ of both Atwood’s fiction and the complex ethical situations that bioengineering create.
The published pieces are adaptations of the work originally produced for a 2019 exhibition ‘The Everything Change’, which I continue to iterate (adding new information or updating data) at regular intervals. In particular, I update the ‘Extinctathon’ chart, where I map the threat of extinction of every species mentioned in Atwood’s novels against the current ICUN Redlist status every few years:
And the ‘Pigoon’ and ‘Create-An-Animal’ charts (below) have both evolved as I think through different fictional, ethical and scientific approaches to communicating the complexity of bio-engineering and chimeras.