, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 22–34 | Cite as

Leonardo’s choice: the ethics of artists working with genetic technologies

  • Carol GigliottiEmail author
Original Article


Working with current methodologies of art, biology, and genetic technologies, the stated aims of artists working in this area include attempts both to critique the implications and outcomes of genetic technologies and to forge a new art practice involved in creating living beings using those technologies. It is this last ambition, the development of a new art practice involved in creating living beings, that this essay will particularly take to task by questioning the ethics of that goal and the uses of biotechnology in reaching it.


Animals Biogenetics Ethics Aesthetics Ecocentricism Anthropomorphism Animal rights New media 


  1. Baker S (2003) Philosophy in the Wild? In: Britton and Collins (eds) The Eighth Day: the transgenic art of Eduardo Kac, Institute for Study in the Arts, Tempe, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  2. Bureaud A (2002) The ethics and aesthetics of biological art. Trans C Penwarden artpress 276:38Google Scholar
  3. Catts O, Zurr I (2003, 2004) The ethical claims of bioart: killing the other or self-cannibalism. Aust NZ J Art: Art Ethics Double Issue 4(2) and 5(1):167–188. Page numbers are from
  4. Cavalieri P (2003) The animal question: why non-human animals deserve human rights. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark K (1977) Animals and men: their relationship as reflected in western art from prehistory to the present day. Thames & Hudson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Derrida J (1991) ‘Eating well,’ or the calculation of the subject. In: Cadava, Connor, Nancy (eds) Who comes after the subject? Routledge, New York LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Derrida J (2002) “The animal that therefore I am (more to come),” trans. David Wills, Critical Inquiry, 28(Winter)Google Scholar
  8. Efimova A (2003) Introduction: Gene(sis): contemporary art explores human genomics. Berkeley Art Museum
  9. Hayles NK (2000) Who is in control here? Meditating on Eduardo Kac’s transgeneic work. In: Britton and Collins (eds) The eighth day: the transgenic art of Eduardo Kac. Institute for Study in the Arts, Tempe, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  10. Held R (2001) Gene(sis): a contemporary art exhibition for the genomic age In: Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics
  11. Kac E (2000) “GFP Bunny”. In: Dobrila P, Kostic A (eds) Eduardo Kac: telepresence, biotelematics, and transgenic art. Kibla, Maribor, SloveniaGoogle Scholar
  12. Kellen E (ed) (1971) Fantastic tales, strange animals, riddles, jests and prophecies of Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Nelson, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Lestel D (2002) The artistic manipulation of the living. Trans C Penwarden artpress 276:45Google Scholar
  14. Machado A (2003) Towards a transgenic art. In: Britton and Collins (eds) The Eighth Day: the transgenic art of Eduardo Kac. Institute for Study in the Arts. Tempe, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  15. Mukerjee M (1997) Trends in animal research. Scientific AmericanGoogle Scholar
  16. Preece R (2002) Awe for the tiger, love for the lamb. UBC Press, Vancouver, BCGoogle Scholar
  17. Regan T (1983) The case for animal rights. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  18. Rowan A (1995) Replacement alternatives and the concept of alternatives. In: Goldberg, van Zutphen (eds) The world congress on alternatives and animal use in the life sciences: education, research, testing. Mary Ann Liebert, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Salem DJ, Rowan AN (eds) (2003) The state of the animals II. Humane Society Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Shiva V (2000) Tomorrow’s biodiversity. Thames and Hudson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Singer P (1975) Animal liberation. Avon Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Taylor PW (1986) Respect for nature: a theory of environmental ethics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  23. Turner AR (1993) Inventing Leonardo. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Wood D (1999) Comment ne pas manger—Deconstruction and Humanism. In: Steves (ed) Animal others: on ethics, ontology and animal life. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Design, Emily Carr Institute of Art and DesignVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations