// new media class

Michael Burk — therefore I am

Measuring Instruments — Winter 2013

"therefore I am" is a project on the topic of prenatal diagnostics - the measurement of a human before birth. Since just a few years it is possible to retrieve the DNA of a fetus, by analyzing the mothers blood. What consequences and ethical questions unravel for society, as scientists encode our DNA further and further? Doesn't the life of a fetus get sketched out ever more clearly, as we measure more precisely? Is a fetus not becoming a human beeing, when it's looks, it's ability to move and love and work become measurable?

This fictional measuring instrument was created to form a narrative, that let's the visitor engage with the subject. After inserting a blood sample into the machine, the user can determine, how precise the measurement should be. An animation helps the user to understand the matter of the subject and illustrates the changing precision of the measurement. The machine evaluates the sample and creates a projected life story, that reflects the precision of the measurement, by providing a correspondingly detailed story. The story is then printed out. These fictional storys have generative parts, which assemble randomly, to create a variety of storys. The building blocks of these storys were created by taking topics in account that arise from the possibility to analyse the DNA to perfection (eventually): Sexual orientation, intersexuallity, genetic disorder, disability, acceptance by society, etc. Thereby scientific facts, like the detection of the down syndrom are mixed with highly controversial topics like the measureability of sexual orientation, to create room for discussion and speculation.