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Sowing the Seeds

November 26, 2012 • Posted in Resource Room

Sowing the Seeds
Commissioned work by Carol Harkness
for The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture

“Sowing the Seeds, Reaping the Whirlwind” is a metaphoric illustration depicting the consequences of human commodification. Commodification of humans means treating human bodies or body parts as something to be bought, sold, or in some way exchanged in a kind of market. This can occur in a variety of ways, as pictured from left to right:

unFAIR TRADE: obvious evils in abuse of humans

ONE WORLD: “socially acceptable,” potentially attainable human goods seen as “compassionate” in their use

C’est moi Boutique: human goods wrapped in utopian, “progressive” luxury for those wealthy enough to engage in the “light of science” without having to talk about the “elephant in the room”


Person with truck collecting trash, including rubber gloves and (?)body bags (leftovers from human commodification)
Blackboard with “Today’s Special: Kidneys — Market Price” (transplant tourism)
Coming Soon: Fetal Attraction (reference to Robert George’s The Weekly Standard article)
Personal Bar Code Sticker dispenser
Map of the world with airline routes (international travel for organ procurement)
“Organ Procurement” Game (relative dollar signs signify the relative expense of organs)
Paperbacks related to the black markets of organs or the body as negotiable goods
Bamboo in pot and behind the building (an invasive plant in non-native areas)

One World (symbols of male and female united in name signifies the blurring of the lines between the sexes)

Flowers in Vases that look like test tubes
“Created” dolls
Hardcover books with cogent titles, whose first letters spell “LOVE”
Personal Bar Code Rubber Stamp Kit
Embryos with dates on containers
Basket of Fruit (sowing and reaping)
EFC: Embryonic or Fetal Cells, with lovely vials (available separately, of course!) in which to keep a personal supply
Build a Boy/Build a Girl machine, where you can select particular traits (sperm/egg “donation”)
Pregnant woman with a preschooler and a toddler: is the new baby hers to keep?

C’est moi (It is me!) Boutique

Elegant place of business, complete with DNA helix on draperies
Beautiful lockets in which to place important things
Designer Seeds (sperm/egg “donation”)
The clock shows it is the 11th hour
Containers of love in the display case (embryos?)
Goose with a golden egg
Rx compounded daily — mortar and pestle
Plow, signifying the selling of sex
Personalized Bar Code Embosser
Bowl of golden eggs
Row of personalized hormones
Globe: the world is our marketplace
Elephant in the Room
Urns of ESCs for our use
Table with magazines
H++ (becoming more—as humans—than we are currently)
23 C’est moi (personal genomics)
Gas lamp with Bunsen burner as light for this enterprise
Well-heeled couple looking for answers

Van with Delivery Man from the Human Recycling Corporation (recycle symbol containing DaVinci-type man)


“I. Newton” reminds us of the law of gravity. Other laws also apply, like the law regarding sowing and reaping. The banner, “Sowing the Seeds,” is made of popcorn seeds, which bear fruit throughout the poster. The ways in which humans are commodified will also bear fruit: the bamboo is almost unstoppable once it is established in new (non-native) environments, and the black clouds portend the coming storm. We may sow the wind, but we will reap the whirlwind.


April 12, 2010 • Posted in Visual Commentary

Illustration Credit:

Eric R. Muller
Hand in Hand Artworks
[email protected]

Chiseling Away at David: Remaking Humanity

April 12, 2010 • Posted in Visual Commentary

Eric R. Muller
Hand in Hand Artworks
[email protected]