An Artist Bioengineered A Replica Of Van Gogh's Ear...And It Can Hear Everything You Say To It

An artist has recreated Van Gogh's ear...the one that the Post-Impressionist famously cut off to give to a woman. What's more, he's equipped it with microphones to create one of the creepiest pieces of art we've ever seen.

If you have something to say to Van Gogh, he's listening.

If you have something to say to Van Gogh, he's listening.CNN

To be more precise, his ear is listening, thanks to a high-tech system of microphones. Oh, and that's as close to an actual ear as you can get since it's modeled from Van Gogh's DNA.

Artist Diemet Strebe said that she wanted a "more challenging, inspiring method to create contemporary art," so she turned to the relatively new field of bioengineering.

After obtaining a tissue sample from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent's brother, she was able to work with scientists at the Institute for Systems Genetics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. They also obtained additional samples from other Van Gogh relatives to mimic the late artist's mitochondrial DNA.

What all of that means is that this is, essentially, Van Gogh's ear...or as close as modern genetics can get.


The piece is called, "Sugababe," and Strebe worked with auditory scientists to outfit it with microphones. Visitors can speak into the ear, and a computer adapts the sound, then plays it back as Van Gogh would have heard it.

Sure, it's creepy, but it's a compelling tribute to Van Gogh, and it will likely spur more interest in biological engineering.

"These images are very important documents of our time and that try to capture our time," Strebe said to CNN.