Week 3 Response: Bioart

Since the 1980s, a lot of artists have begun integrating materials and concepts from biology into their artworks, which is what we called bioart. Artists often work with scientists or they themselves have some experience in the field in order to produce their works in a lab or through x-ray, or etc. Thus, artists are more able to express themselves and raise issues which they concern through less limited options of medium from technology.

Working with biologically-related concepts provides the artists a totally new and different form of media; more importantly, the artworks raise social and ecological issues to the society. Through their art pieces, they often challenges the society to pay attention to damaged ecologies humans have created.

I found a week3few exhibitions from the Bioart Lab at SVA, and here is one example that catches my attention immediately and even makes me laugh a little. Happy Birthday (2013) by Laura Murray is one of the artworks from the exhibition called “Where is the Art in Bio Art?” From my own interpretation, Murray is trying to raise the awareness of buying luxurious accessories and handbags made by precious animal skins or insects.week3-2 In the fashion industry these days, the products are more expensive and popular as the materials from animals and other living matters get more exotic or precious. This kind of fashion trend causes a lot of animals become nearly extinct, including crocodiles. I am not quite sure how Murray preserved the cicada exuvia but she painted the insect gold make people realize that excess use of animals in productions causes a lot of damages to the natural world.

Another example is a video by Trisha Eustaquio and Angel M. Paredes focused on Mitochondria and chemical toxicity. The video shows a comparison of a healthy rat brain cell and a damaged one. In the beginning, the healthy brain cells work together to create a network to optimize energy. As the cells get damaged, they get swollen and eventually lead to the death of the cells. If the video is used on human brain cells, people will be more aware of the importance of health. Thus, by visualizing cells, the artists make the society look deeper into nature and their own human body. (video in the link below)

The two examples I use show that artists are able to raise different kinds of issues, such as altering ecology and awareness of health. Through bioart, artists’ imaginations almost have no boundaries. However, working with bioart might have several problems. The artists might have a hard time getting accesses to different materials or might get health problems caused by some of the dangerous materials. Also, creating bioart can be expensive. Thus, bioart is not as popular as regular visual art. Nevertheless, technology nowadays helps artists brings their imaginations to reality, like bioart. Artists who create bioart dedicate themselves in both science and art. Therefore, bioart an intersection of science and art in which technology becomes a tool and media in the art world.

-Annie Ho



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