“For most of our past, we were animals, or we were living like animals … We are still carrying our animal instincts.”
Born 1945, Chongqing, Sichuan. Raised in Taiwan, lives and works in USA
Although Daniel Lee subscribes to Darwinian theory, in Origin (1999-2003), he imagines human evolution as linear rather than branching, with Coelacanth fish morphing into reptiles, generic mammals, apes and finally man. The beasts, and their eerily humanoid appearances, are made all the more unsettling by seamless Photoshop editing, which makes the component images look like unretouched photographs and gives their slow-motion sequence the effect of a live video. Napping (2004) is part of Lee’s multi-work Harvest project, which reflects on our growing dependence on organ transplants. He imagines “a not too distant future” in which animals are genetically modified to supply eyes, hearts, livers and other organs. They will not only be modified to produce human-compatible organs, the artist says—they will develop “traits and behaviors that are distinctly human”.