Week 3 Response—The Artistic Value of BioArt

The progress and structure of life has been inspired the artist for centuries. In this week’s lecture, we discussed about the BioArt from 20th century until now. The definition of BioArt is “an art practice where humans work with live tissues, bacteria, living organisms, and life processes by using scientific processes such as biotechnology” (Wikipedia).

In the 20th century, the early BioArt artists used the real human body to combine with the technology—the X-ray and Rayographs—in their artworks such as Wilhelm Rontgen, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Man Ray. I paid a lot of attentions on Man Ray’s artworks especially his photography works. In his photographs, he used human body as an intermediary to deliver his idea of raypgraphs and also the dadaism. He combined his illusory, actual, occasional, and inevitable concepts with the shooting skills to create a batch of extremely distinctive works. I found that in his photographs, his always used the shape of something such as human body, eyes, and hands, and different rays and light to make them look different as what they were before. The artistic value of Man Ray’s work was that he broken some of the “old concepts” of art and created a new style of the photography field—art can become something beyond the real world.49b68f35gb3a312749b55&69049b68f35gb3a3348e84d6&690

Until the last 20 years, artists began to cooperate with biologists, and created some works by using the bacteria, the animals, and even the living organisms. In the past few decades, some art works in this area had won the wide attention from the media including Andrew Krasnow’s “Flag” (1990)—this was a work made by the contribution of human skin; George Gessert’s hybrid plants throughout using the concept of genetic; Stelarc did a surgery of putting the structure of the ear into his left arm; and The Tissue Culture&Art Project’s “Pig Wings”—this work used the lab-grown pig cells. These works were easy to arouse people’s debate, at the same time they also covered the science, technology, and logic—of course, the most important thing was the moral issues. Some people argued that the exhibition of these BioArt work was immoral, but in my opinion, there was no difference between putting them into a lab or showing in the public because the scientific research will never stop, and open to the public made them become more transparent.Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 上午2.07.521514000006m

In the reading, the biologist Stephen J. Gould made a reflection about the artists like Rockman (the ecological artist), and said that “Artists can therefore be most useful to scientists in showing us the prejudices of our categorizations by creatively expanding the range of natured forms, and by fracturing boundaries in an overt manner” (Wilson 143). Many experiments had occurred in the lab that we were uncomprehending, while artists made these research works become visible. It made them open to be criticized by the critics, and it is also easy to become someone else’s scapegoat. Actually, we should not shoot these “information conveyancers”. All the types of arts should be accepted under the range of basic moral.

-Mengchun Tao


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