Artist Creates Living Replica of Van Gogh's Ear
Diemut Strebe, an artist who often incorporates biological material into her work, wanted to reconstruct the ear that van Gogh sliced off in 1888 during a psychotic episode. To make it as genetically close to the real thing as possible, Strebe reached out to Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of van Gogh's brother Theo, and asked him to provide DNA from his ear cartilage cells, AFP reported. [The 10 Weirdest Things Created By 3D Printing]
Left; Van Gogh's self portrait
Above, The replica ear made using 3D printing technology and the DNA of a relative of Van Gogh.
It is thought that Van Gogh cut off his ear because he suffered tinnitus. For assistance with Tinnitus, see your qualified Audiologist, make contact with the team at jervis bay hearing centre.
Scientists have been 3D printing human body parts, tissues and organs for several years. The new technology is revolutionizing organ transplants and is making it possible to replace failing organs or missing body parts. But Strebe's goals were a little more esoteric.
The title of the living art piece, "Sugababe," is a reference to a philosophical problem, which the Greek historian Plutarch wrote about nearly 2,000 years ago in "The Life of Theseus": If a ship is restored by replacing all its parts, does it remain the same ship? (This type of question is sometimes referred to as the Sugababe paradox, after a British pop band with an ever-changing line-up.) Similarly, the van Gogh ear replica explores the idea of how much an individual's genetic code is a part of who he or she is.
Strebe's past work has included genetically engineered plants, photographs of scientists with litmus paper in their mouths and an art piece that was launched into space. The van Gogh ear replica is on display until July. Strebe will move her art collection, including the ear, to New York early next year.