Bio-Art International: Biotechnology, Genetics and Art-Making
Bio-Art is the rubric for art forms produced from using biotechnology and/or genetics to create, manipulate and/or transform living things. Over the past two decades, biology has emerged as one of the newest, and most controversial, art media, although there is a centuries-long history of artists engaging the life sciences using diverse media. Artists around the world have turned their studios (and bodies) into laboratories to deliberately create living things—including DNA portraits, transgenic collages, hybrids, clones and mutations—as works of art. They have had to learn biological research skills as well as collaborate with scientists in order to do so. These in vivo art forms cross and confuse the boundaries between "the artificial" and "the natural," provoking new and different understandings of "nature" and "art" alike. The ethical questions provoked by Bio-Art have also complicated the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, art and law. This seminar situates Bio-Art in the contexts of the history of art and science, studio and laboratory practices, and media theory, and explores the artistic, scientific, and international socio-cultural environments past and present that have made Bio-Art conceptually and technologically possible. We will look closely at the art, writings, and videos of a number of Bio-Artists from around the world shaping the field today, including Kac, ORLAN, Anker, Stelarc, Laval-Jeantet, Azuma, Vanouse, Lu Yang, Catts and Zurr, and Jeremijenko among many others.