I suggest the authors argue that if you are created for a purpose, then you cannot avoid your fate. Shelley, Ishiguro and Picoult's "monsters" all suffer from social exclusion and ultimately untimely deaths. But not before searching for the existence of their souls, as if to make sense of their "humanity".
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Scientists have been able to clone people and use them as spare parts for organ donations. Asking what it is that makes us human, Ishiguro paints a grim picture of a possible future of slave-donors. If technology can create living donors cloned for the purpose of saving other's lives, then should science be given a free hand to do what it is capable of? Ishiguro uses the device of a narrator called Kathy who looks back on her idyllic life as a school girl in a boarding house in England. But here amongst the green fields and hockey lessons the children learn of their role in society.
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The donors are on the fringe of society, and even though they look like everyone else, people fear them and the donors must care for each other after their operations. But even though they passively accept their fate, the donors still fear the unknown. You know why it is, Kath, why everyone worries so much about the fourth? It's because they're not sure they'll really complete. If you knew for certain you'd complete, it would be easier. But they never tell us for sure.
You'll have heard the same talk. How maybe, after the fourth donation, even if you've technically completed, you're still conscious in some sort of way, how then you find there are more donations, plenty of them, on the other side of that line; how there are no more recovery centers, no carers, no friends; how there's nothing to do except watch your remaining donations until they switch you off.
Is it all right to buy a kidney from someone? Do you just stop at getting one organ per person? Or do you keep taking and taking? A scientist would say this is a ridiculous premise and that it would never happen, but a fiction writer asks what if it did happen.
Where do we draw the line between what is natural and what is not?
But is this an argument that will only last as long as technology is in its infancy? Will health triumph over ethics? In Never Let Me Go , society looks away from the donors so it isn't forced to confront the issue that they might very well be human and have feelings and desires and fears like the rest of us. At the end of the novel, Kathy and her friend Tommy track down Miss Emily, a teacher at their old boarding school, and ask her why she was obsessed with them doing creative projects such as art and poetry at school. Why train us, encourage us, make us produce all of that?
If we're just going to give donations anyway, then die, why all those lessons?
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Why all those books and discussions? Why did we take your artwork? Why did we do that?
You said an interesting thing earlier, Tommy. When you were discussing this with Marie-Claude.
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You said it was because your art would reveal what you were like. What you were like inside. That's what you said, wasn't it? Well, you weren't far wrong about that. We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all. She paused, and Tommy and I exchanged glances for the first time in ages. Then I asked: Why did you have to prove such a thing like that, Miss Emily?
Did someone think we didn't have souls?
A thin smile appeared on her face. It's touching, Kathy, to see you so taken aback.
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It demonstrates, in a way, that we did our job well. As you say, why would someone doubt you had a soul? But I have to tell you, my dear, it wasn't something commonly held when we first set out all those years ago. And although we've come a long way since then, it's still not a notion universally held, even today.
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Does creating a child free of cystic fibrosis, for instance, really have the same outcome as creating a child born to be a savior for another? First it is cord blood, but over the years other more invasive donations are required, until the mother demands a kidney is donated. The novel starts with the teenager's bid for medical emancipation from her parents.
Anna is only 13 — does she have a right to go against her mother's wishes and refuse to give a kidney to her dying sister? After all, she was created with the sole purpose of being a suitable organ donor, and her usefulness was established at the moment of her birth, when stem cells from her umbilical cord were harvested. During the court scenes where Anna fights to avoid being forced to give her sister a kidney, her lawyer questions the doctor overseeing her dying sister's care.
I stand up, my hands in my pockets. Can you tell the Court how the Fitzgeralds came to consult providence Hospital's preimplantation genetic diagnosis team to conceive Anna? After their son was tested and found to be an unsuitable donor for Kate, I told the Fitzgeralds about another family I'd worked with. They'd tested all the patient's siblings, and none qualified, but then the mother got pregnant during the course of the treatment and their child happened to be a perfect match.
Did you tell the Fitzgeralds to conceive a genetically programmed child to serve as a donor for Kate? Absolutely not, Dr Chance says, affronted. I just explained that even if none of the existing children was a match, that didn't mean that a future child might not be. Did you explain to the Fitzgeralds that this child, as a perfectly genetically programmed match, would have to be available for all these treatments for Kate throughout her life?
We were talking about a single cord blood treatment at the time, Dr Chance says.
Subsequent donations came about because Kate didn't respond to the first one. And because they offered more promising results. The state allocates studios, materials and even living quarters for the most successful. However, an alternative production is still taking place. Other collectives like Los Carpinteros , that had appeared form the same pedagogical approach had been, paradoxically, very successful in the art market. Francisco in his series of urban interventions, rebuilding living spaces for poor and sick female senior citizens in a poor neighborhood in Havana his now famous trilogy of social sculptures , "Rosa's House" , "Min's Patio" The last one is forthcoming and Brugera's Arte de Conducta program, that offers fellowships to all its students many courses take place in Brugera's house in Old Havana make clear that after the boom of the s and 90s what is important is to work at the interior of the communities creating networks of solidarity and support.
Figure 7. Sao Paulo's alternative art scene is leaded by a collective group named Bijari. Formed in by architects and visual artists, Bijari is a creative nest of visual arts, multimedia and architecture. Urban intervention, performance, happening, video, design, and web design become mediums to establish new possibilities to experience and research their reality something like the post medium practices highly debated in the world of art.
They understand the city as a fragmented space; their interactive activities inform the inhabitants of Sao Paulo about the real materials the city is made of. The activities of the group signal the lack of the ideal city which is in a liminal space. Their objective is to establish a resistant image from the existent image of the city. In order to understand the role of the contemporary subject in the city the members of the collective develop gadgets, images, and devises which in a weird way interact with the passer-by.
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Sometimes they arrange and alter public spaces, plazas, abandon buildings, streets, etc. On other times, they spread their reach to the entire city using posters, adhesive ads, graffiti, and web-pages. Their collaboration goes from helping and participating in the taking-over of abandon buildings, to workshops, communal exhibitions, web design, advertisement, video production and document production. Their purpose is to put these issues into main stream media and to reach a larger audience. In Colombia new practices by artists, curators, cultural and social activist are thriving. Pedagogy is understood as a frame in which different artistic world-views met, in order to find their role in society and the way to be tuned with different audiences.
The BVB also works with the community to help improve their relationship with the urban space, the neighborhood, and with themselves. Indeed, it implies a new way to produce art.