Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond (Leonardo Book Series)
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Bio art is a new art form that has emerged from the cultural impact and increasing accessibility of contemporary biotechnology. Signs of Life is the first book to focus exclusively on art that uses biotechnology as its medium, defining and discussing the theoretical and historical implications of bio art and offering examples of work by prominent artists.Bio art manipulates the processes of life; in its most radical form, it invents or transforms living organisms. It is not representational; bio art is in vivo. (A celebrated example is Eduardo Kac's own GFP Bunny, centered on "Alba," the transgenic fluorescent green rabbit.) The creations of bio art become a part of evolution and, provided they are capable of reproduction, can last as long as life exists on earth. Thus, bio art raises unprecedented questions about the future of life, evolution, society, and art.The contributors to Signs of Life articulate the critical theory of bio art and document its fundamental works. The writers--who include such prominent scholars as Barbara Stafford, Eugene Thacker, and Dorothy Nelkin--consider the culture and aesthetics of biotechnology, the ethical and philosophical aspects of bio art, and biology in art history. The section devoted to artworks and artists includes George Gessert's Why I Breed Plants, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr's Semi-Living Art, Marc Quinn's Genomic Portrait, and Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey's Chlorophyll.
‘‘Losing Your Concepts,’’ 263. 56. Derrida, ‘‘The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Follow),’’ 386, 395. 57. Ibid., 396. 58. Ibid., 395. 59. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Force of Law’’: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority,’ ’’ trans. Mary Quaintance, in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, eds. Drucilla Cornell, Michael Rosenfeld, and David Gray Carlson (London: Routledge, 1992), 24. 60. Ibid. 61. Derrida, ‘‘The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Follow),’’ 45, 46. Bioethics and the
biochemical properties that define biological relationships, were first applied in the 1920s to establish relationships between parents and children, for example, in cases of infants switched at birth. Today, blood, as the source of DNA, is a tool of investigation in cases of disputed paternity, inheritance claims, and criminal identification. To scientists, blood is replenishable material. But in its social meaning, blood is more than material—it is the essence of personhood, an inviolable
anticoagulants.19 Jack Kevorkian, a pathologist in the United States, became famous for his Thanatron, a machine that allows patients to kill themselves under his supervision. He is a painter as well. For his painting on the theme of genocide, he used blood from his own arm and also expired blood samples that he obtained from the hospital where he worked.20 In 1991, Marc Quinn created Self, in which he sculpted a model of his head using nine liters of his own frozen congealed blood.21 The head is
attitude toward nature. The second objection against aesthetic manipulation of animals (i.e., that the animal has the right not to be manipulated) is also problematic, because it essentially excludes humans from nature by granting them a special status within the world of the living, and by considering, more or less implicitly, humans’ natural needs (such as manipulating other living beings to their advantage) to be less important than the needs of animals not to be manipulated. The strong
Zurr 231 16 Cases for Genetic Art Joe Davis 249 17 VivoArts Adam Zaretsky 267 18 The Relative Velocity Inscription Device Paul Vanouse 277 19 Proteins Regina Trindade 285 20 Skin Culture Object-Oriented Art (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoıˆt Mangin) 291 21 REPRO DUCTION davidkremers 295 22 OneTree Natalie Jeremijenko 301 Contents vi 23 The Art of Unnatural Selection Brandon Ballenge´e 303 24 Genomic Portrait Marc Quinn 309 IV Biology and Art History 313 25 ´