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BioArt is an art practice in which the medium is living matter and the works of art are produced in laboratories and/or artistsstudios. The tool is biotechnology, which includes such technologies as genetic engineering, tissue culture and cloning. BioArt is considered by most artists to be strictly limited to “living forms,” although there is some debate as to the stages at which matter can be considered to be alive or living. The materials used by Bioartists are cells, DNA, proteins and living tissue. Creating living beings and practicing in the life sciences brings about ethical, social and aesthetic inquiry. The phrase "BioArt" was coined by Eduardo Kac in 1997 in relation to his artwork "Time Capsule". Although it originated at the end of the 20th century through the works of pioneers like Kac and Gessert, BioArt started to be more widely practiced in the beginning of the 21st Century. Thus, it may be considered the first 21st century art movement.[citation needed]

Contents

BioArt's appeal

While most people who practice BioArt are categorized as artists in this new media, they can also be seen as scientists due to the actual medium within a work pertains to molecular structures, and so forth. Because of this dual-acceptance, The Department of Cell Biology at Harvard University invites anyone to submit works based on scientific and/or artistic value.[1] This can encourage anyone to submit work they strongly respond to.

BioArt's significance

Eduardo Kac stated that this unique art medium fulfills a need to branch out of the bordering confines of what traditional art (such as painting, etc.) dictates. In Natasha Vita-More's "Brave BioArt 2: shredding the bio, amassing the nano, and cultivating posthuman life", artists thrive on challenges in learning how to master new tools. Vita-More also states that there exists a sense of detachment from the plastic arts and opted for the tools of computers and electronic media.

There is a bit of a concern, however, when dealing with issues of whether or not a specific living aesthetic in a BioArt work is truly "living". Choosing expired blood, for example, does not constitute itself as alive (Vita-More). But Eduardo Kac's "A Positive" uses blood as its medium in respects to being filtered inside a mechanical robot, and uses the blood's oxygen to create a spark and ignite a flame (Vita-More).

Exposing artists to laboratories

Artists visiting laboratories can be a trying experience, since it requires artists to engage an environment that initially can be considered "foreign". Eventually artists use formations pertaining to science, such as working with bacteria or live-tissue.

Much of the art involves tissue-culturing and transgenics, a term for a variety of genetic engineering processes through which genetic material from one organism is altered by the addition of synthesized or transplanted genetic material from another organism.[2]

On msnbc.com's web article "Bio-artists bridge gap between arts, sciences", Kac worked on a project in 2000 in which he injected a fluorescent protein gene from a jellyfish and integrating this gene into a living rabbit. This ultimately led to the rabbit being able to glow bright green while being illuminated in blue lights.

The article itself that elaborates more of this can be found here.

Controversy

While BioArt has attained a modern, unique outlook on how art is represented in today's day of age, it has been scrutinized for its apparent lack of morals and ethics. USA Today reported that many BioArt practitioners have been accused of unfairly using animals for their own personal gain, and further endangering their well being[3].

Alka Chandna, a senior researcher with PETA in Norfolk, Va, has stated that using animals for the sake of art is no different than using animal fur for clothing material. "Transgenic manipulation of animals is just a continuum of using animals for human end, regardless of whether it is done to make some sort of sociopolitical critique. The suffering and exacerbation of stress on the animals is very problematic."

BioArt pioneers

Other BioArt practitioners

  • El Club de los Astronautas
  • Hunter Cole, formerly Hunter O'Reilly, reinterprets science as art through abstractions, digital art, installations and drawings created with living bioluminescent bacteria.
  • Marc Quinn
  • Orlan
  • Stelarc
  • Symbiotica Art & Science Collaborative Research Laboratory
  • Nell Tenhaaf
  • subRosa

See also

Further reading

  • Anker, Suzanne, and Dorothy Nelkin. (2004) The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press).
  • Gatti, Gianna Maria. (2009) The Technological Herbarium. Avinus Verlag, Berlin, 2009 (edited, translated from the Italian, and with a preface by Alan N. Shapiro).
  • Levy, Steven. (2007) "Best of Technology Writing 2007" (University of Michigan Press, in conjunction with DIGITALCULTUREBOOKS [1]
  • Vita-More, Natasha. (2007) "Brave BioArt 2: Shedding the Bio, Amassing the Nano, and Cultivating Emortal Life," "Reviewing the Future" Summit, Montreal, Canada, Coeur des Sciences, University of Quebec. [4]
  • Jens Hauser (ed.). sk-interfaces. Exploding borders - creating membranes in art, technology and society. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press 2008
  • Nicole C. Karafyllis (ed.). Biofakte - Versuch über den Menschen zwischen Artefakt und Lebewesen. Paderborn: Mentis 2003. (in German)
  • Ingeborg Reichle. Kunst aus dem Labor. Springer Publ. 2005. (in German)

References

External links

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]] BioArt is an art practice in which the medium is living matter and the works of art are produced in laboratories and/or artists' studios. The tool is biotechnology, which includes such technologies as genetic engineering, tissue culture and cloning. BioArt is considered by most artists to be strictly limited to “living forms,” although there is some debate as to the stages at which matter can be considered to be alive or living. The materials used by Bioartists are cells, DNA, proteins and living tissue. Creating living beings and practicing in the life sciences brings about ethical, social and aesthetic inquiry. The phrase "BioArt" was coined by Eduardo Kac in 1997 in relation to his artwork "Time Capsule". Although it originated at the end of the 20th century through the works of pioneers like Kac and Gessert, BioArt started to be more widely practiced in the beginning of the 21st Century.

Contents

BioArt's appeal

BioArt is often intended to be shocking and/or humorous. One survey of the field in Isotope: A Journal of Literary Science and Nature Writing puts it this way: "BioArt is often ludicrous. It can be lumpy, gross, unsanitary, sometimes invisible, and tricky to keep still on the auction block. But at the same time, it does something very traditional that art is supposed to do: draw attention to the beautiful and grotesque details of nature that we might otherwise never see."[1]

While most people who practice BioArt are categorized as artists in this new media, they can also be seen as scientists due to the actual medium within a work pertains to molecular structures, and so forth. Because of this dual-acceptance, The Department of Cell Biology at Harvard University invites anyone to submit works based on scientific and/or artistic value.[2] This can encourage anyone to submit work they strongly respond to.

BioArt's significance

Eduardo Kac stated that this unique art medium fulfills a need to branch out of the bordering confines of what traditional art (such as painting, etc.) dictates. In Natasha Vita-More's "Brave BioArt 2: shredding the bio, amassing the nano, and cultivating posthuman life", artists thrive on challenges in learning how to master new tools. Vita-More also states that there exists a sense of detachment from the plastic arts and opted for the tools of computers and electronic media.

There is a bit of a concern, however, when dealing with issues of whether or not a specific living aesthetic in a BioArt work is truly "living". Choosing expired blood, for example, does not constitute itself as alive (Vita-More). But Eduardo Kac's "A Positive" uses blood as its medium in respects to being filtered inside a mechanical robot, and uses the blood's oxygen to create a spark and ignite a flame (Vita-More).

Exposing artists to laboratories

Artists visiting laboratories can be a trying experience, since it requires artists to engage an environment that initially can be considered "foreign". Eventually artists use formations pertaining to science, such as working with bacteria or live-tissue.

Much of the art involves tissue-culturing and transgenics, a term for a variety of genetic engineering processes through which genetic material from one organism is altered by the addition of synthesized or transplanted genetic material from another organism.[3]

On msnbc.com's web article "Bio-artists bridge gap between arts, sciences", Kac worked on a project in 2000 in which he injected a fluorescent protein gene from a jellyfish and integrating this gene into a living rabbit. This ultimately led to the rabbit being able to glow bright green while being illuminated in blue lights.

The article itself that elaborates more of this can be found here.

Controversy

While BioArt has attained a modern, unique outlook on how art is represented today, it has been scrutinized for its apparent lack of morals and ethics. USA Today reported that many BioArt practitioners have been accused of unfairly using animals for their own personal gain, and further endangering their well being[4].

Alka Chandna, a senior researcher with PETA in Norfolk, Va, has stated that using animals for the sake of art is no different than using animal fur for clothing material. "Transgenic manipulation of animals is just a continuum of using animals for human end, regardless of whether it is done to make some sort of sociopolitical critique. The suffering and exacerbation of stress on the animals is very problematic."

BioArt pioneers

Other BioArt practitioners

See also

Further reading

  • Anker, Suzanne, and Dorothy Nelkin. (2004) The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press).
  • Gatti, Gianna Maria. (2010) The Technological Herbarium. Avinus Press, Berlin, 2010 (edited, translated from the Italian, and with a preface by Alan N. Shapiro). online at alan-shapiro.com
  • Levy, Steven. (2007) "Best of Technology Writing 2007" (University of Michigan Press, in conjunction with DIGITALCULTUREBOOKS [1]
  • Vita-More, Natasha. (2007) "Brave BioArt 2: Shedding the Bio, Amassing the Nano, and Cultivating Emortal Life," "Reviewing the Future" Summit, Montreal, Canada, Coeur des Sciences, University of Quebec. [4]
  • Jens Hauser (ed.). sk-interfaces. Exploding borders - creating membranes in art, technology and society. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press 2008
  • Nicole C. Karafyllis (ed.). Biofakte - Versuch über den Menschen zwischen Artefakt und Lebewesen. Paderborn: Mentis 2003. (in German)
  • Ingeborg Reichle. Kunst aus dem Labor. Springer Publ. 2005. (in German)

References


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