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Thomas Feuerstein, HONEYMOON, 1996
left: photograph taken when the artist was wed to a rubber plant by a Hindu avatar, Trivandrum 1996
right: Thomas Feuerstein in collaboration with Bollywood painters, HONEYMOON, 1996
oil on canvas, 220 x 330 cm

For the project entitled BIOPHILY (1993-2002), a series of projects and performances were realised in Daressalam, Windhoek, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Bishkek, among other places. The core event (IN SEARCH OF THE AVATAR), set in India, consisted in the artist marrying a rubber plant, The plant (Ficus elastica), native to the forests of India and a popular house plant in European living rooms, served as a metaphor for exoticism and a symbolic residue of nature in houses and flats. In a further step, gold particles were coated with the artist's DNA and injected into the rubber plant's cells with the help of a so-called particle gun (gene gun). Subsequently, the transgenic cells were cultivated into plants themselves. The project, realised in collaboration with an assistant at a Swiss university institute, was discontinued by the head of the institute in the run-up to the Swiss gene referendum, carried out in April 1997. The plants had to be destroyed and a publication of the results was prohibited.