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History, pastness and the postgenomic imaginary

Abstract

This article considers the ways that poets, rappers and artists including Kendrick Lamar, Residente, Zaffar Kunial, Michael Symons Roberts, Hannah Sullivan and Marc Quinn have responded to the biomedical postgenomic gaze and the ways in which they have dissented or built on this seemingly new way of conceiving of the human. These poets and rappers consider what it means to imagine in a postgenomic way and the possible implications of this for writing, art and living. The multiple texts I explore and articulate how postgenomic identities have been expanded and understood and imagined. They participate, therefore, in the consideration articulated by Jenny Reardon of the ‘postgenomic condition’ but, as I argue, they extend and debate this. These texts interrogate what the postgenomic condition enables aesthetically and, more importantly, what type of critique might be developed. Rather than be constrained by being postgenomic, they see opportunity for expansion, development, innovation and critique. In these articulations, then, we can discern a roadmap for being postgenomic, as poetry seems to offer a thoughtful means for navigating the complexity of this new state.

  • genetics
  • poetry
  • art and medicine
  • music
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