The immortal artist

In Manassas, Virginia, a 126,000 sq ft building houses one of the world’s largest collections of genetic material. Among the American Type Culture Collection’s (ATCC) 3400 cell lines, 18,000 bacteria strains, 2000 animal viruses and eight million cloned genes — all stored alive, ready to be deployed in the wars against illness, ageing and disease — are a handful of living cells, constantly multiplying, from New Zealand. They belong to the artist Billy Apple.

Portrait: Jane Ussher