Pigs genetically engineered to grow duplicate human organs, for possible future transplant. Rabbits spliced with jellyfish DNA so they glow in the dark. Canines that look like domestic pets but attack like wolves.
This suite of ‘speculative diagrams’ visualises ideas from Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy (2003-13), through which Atwood speculates on the future impact of bio-engineering. Atwood’s novels are populated by hybrid creatures which she uses to draw attention to environmental and ethical consequences of humans meddling with the natural world. Atwood states that her fictional trilogy “does not include any technologies or bio beings that do not already exist, are not under construction, or are not possible in theory.” The speculative diagrams are designed to bridge the gap between Atwood’s fictional bio-beings and the real-world science they are based on.
The diagrams are visual interpretations of Atwood’s writing, grafted with additional scientific information. They are designed using graphic and material strategies that intend to surprise and engage viewers, and to provoke further speculation on the key themes of Atwood’s novels, such as genetic modification and climate change, which are urgent issues in the world today. This work contributes to an emerging zone of scholarly activity in which information visualisation is adopted as a comparative tool for text analysis.