ARTH 4151/6151 Topics in Media Arts: Biological Art (Bio Art)
(crosslisted as STS 4511/6511 / VISST 4151/6151)
M. Fernandez, A. Douglas
From the late 20th-century to the present, artists have made art using live entities including plants, animals, cells, tissue cultures and bacteria. They have designed habitats, crops, body organs, created new species and attempted to salvage extinct ones. Some artists also have produced works in traditional media such as painting, sculpture and photography. While artists always have imaged and sometimes directly engaged with aspects of the natural world in their art, bio art responds to recent developments in genetics and information technologies. Because of its foundation on the life sciences this art entails significant ethical and political dimensions. In this seminar students will explore multiple areas of bio art with attention to pertinent artistic and critical literature and to the scientific practices in which the works are based. For this purpose the class will consult with specialists and visit laboratories on campus relevant to the art covered in the course. We expect these interdisciplinary investigations to prepare students for a grounded assessment of bio art.