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Weaving the Tapestry of Life

PhD candidate Emilio Vavarella turns his genetic information into art


For his graduate work at Harvard, GSAS student Emilio Vavarella had his mother make him again. At the center of his year-long performance piece, Genesis, she weaves a fabric on a Jacquard loom—considered to be one of the first computers of history—using strands of thread that represent her son’s genetic information. In this video, Vavarella, a PhD candidate in film and visual studies and critical media practice, describes the process of creating Genesis, the project’s historical and metaphorical underpinnings, and the ultimate goal of his work as an artist and researcher.

Banner photo credit: Emilio Vavarella

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