ctrl. + Z: a DNA / ZOO for the 21st century

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dc.contributor.author Manicom, Caitlyn
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-02T12:37:56Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-02T12:37:56Z
dc.date.issued 2012-07-02
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/11583
dc.description.abstract The disappearance of naturally occurring organisms, their extinction, and their reinterpretation through science, reinvites the ancient allegory of Plato’s cave. The story is a scenario in which reality and illusion are confused: Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood: not only are their arms and legs held in place, but their heads are also fixed, compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which people walk carrying objects on their heads. The prisoners watch the shadows cast by the men, and hear their echoes, not knowing that they are shadows and reflections. Socrates suggests that the prisoners would take the shadows and echoes to be reality, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they knew, and the whole of their society would depend on the shadows on the wall. We are currently confronted with a similar conundrum where information can be misconstrued as both reality and myth. The headlines are a riot of outcries since the escalation of rhino poaching for new-age traditional medicine. The result of rhino poaching is their imminent extinction. Without the media frenzy, animals would silently disappear and man would neglect to acknowledge the part he has played before it was too late. Our relationship with animals provides us with a useful mirror of society. The incomprehension between man and any other species forces us to project emotions and meaning onto them in order to understand them. The synapse of ambiguity creates a void that is filled with questions, curiosity and guilt. ABSTRACT The rising number of vulnerable species highlights the fact that measures taken to stall extinction are ineffective. The artificial landscapes attempted by man to preserve animals: namely nature reserves, zoological gardens and natural history museums; construct new versions of reality into which we file nature so that it corresponds with human logic. Our incessant need to control, dissect, and extrapolate habitats has amounted in anthropomorphic and anthropocentric typologies. Through assessing these preservation models as well as their priorities, which seem more concerned with capture and display for capital than reestablishing a natural order; I argue that the current situation is outdated and requires a reinvention. The human population has hindered the natural migration of animals, however, it is now possible to reinstate some of this natural order through establishing a network of genetics between zoos, natural history museums and nature reserves. In the process of collecting animal DNA data, we are creating a back up system for animals in the future. My thesis proposes the integration of the concepts of game reserve, zoo, natural history museum and cryobank into a single ‘DNA Zoo’ concept for the 21st en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.title ctrl. + Z: a DNA / ZOO for the 21st century en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA

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