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Synthesizing Art and Science Through the Senses: Exploring the Aesthetics of DNA

A special program complementing the National Museum of Natural History exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life's Code

Evening Panel Discussion with Wine Tasting

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Code: 1C0031

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Can our five senses open aesthetic doors to the fields of genetics and genomics? How does making—and experiencing—art help us interpret and understand science? Creators, scholars, and scientists come together for a fascinating conversation on how arts and popular culture can provide unique insights into the narrative of human history told through our DNA.

Panelists include media designer Kaya Sanan, director of Sanan Media and creator of The Animated Genome, the introductory film for the exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code at the Natural History Museum; interdisciplinary artists Mendi + Keith Obadike, whose recent project American Cypher investigates race and DNA through a sound-art installation, performance, and series of poems; and Priscilla Wald, a professor in the department of English at Duke University whose work focuses on the intersections of literature, science, and medicine. Carla Easter, deputy chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute and one of the curators of the Genome exhibition, moderates.

Afterward, raise a glass to the science and the art of winemaking in a special tasting that explores wine appreciation through the dual lens of genomics and sensory science with Marcia Pelchat, Ph.D., taste and smell researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and Jordan Harris, winemaker of Tarara Winery. Have you ever wondered why you might love a wine but someone else finds it unpalatable? Genetically based differences affect how each individual smells and tastes. Guests will have the chance to experience and understand how these differences affect their own unique palate.

Programming is made possible thanks to generous grants and gifts made through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Smithsonian Connections

The program concludes a year-long series complementing the exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code at the Natural History Museum, which examines the science and ethics of genomics.

Watch the short film The Animated Genome, created by Kaya Sanan for Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.





Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Marion & Gustave Ring Auditorium
7th and Independence Ave, SW
Metro:L'Enfant Plaza(Blue/Orange/Yellow/Green)