Technogenesis: Aesthetic Dimensions of Art and Biotechnology
From material processes to elusive patterns, artists and scientists seek models of explanation (Kemp, 2000). Sometimes illusionally evocative, sometimes rigorously formulaic, and at other times sculpturally bounded, these conceptualizing tools have historically linked art and science. Bring to the fore new technologies, digitally driven, and a vast array of alternative schemes become possibilities. High resolution images of cells, scanned helical DNA structures and synaptic neural connections can presently be viewed in real time. Add to the mix embodied transgenic life forms and fabricated animal models, and our conceptualizing tools expand the possibilities for dimensional invention.
The accelerating dynamic between cultural and genetic evolution produces what can be termed a co-evolution between technical knowledge and living matter. And it is this co-evolution between technical expertise and animate matter we term technogenesis. 2 In other terms, technogenesis is the way in which the interactions between technology and biology impact our understanding of how nature exists, or would be, conceived and reconfigured in the future.
But how do art practices and the life sciences rely on the efficacy of images? And what part do these images play in the acquisition, comprehension, dissemination and even funding of visual or scientific study? In what ways do images reflect the socio/ economic and cultural conditions of producing knowledge? Located somewhere between illusion, proof and cognitive projection, images, hence, become critical fictions operating within the cultural imaginary. They often traverse contested territories situated elsewhere on the axis between fact and fiction. These visualizing models, ubiquitously employed by artists, scientists, designers, corporate advertisers, journalists and politicians, clarify, mislead, aggrandize, stimulate and document. In brief, they are representations embedded in social structures, policy decisions and commercial ventures. As aesthetic devices such images perform their semiotic function activating thought and emotion by their salient powers of communication and circumscribed belief (Anker, 2004).
KeywordsGreen Fluorescent Protein Aesthetic Dimension Genetic Science Pictorial Sign Cognitive Projection
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Alexander, Brian (2003). Rapture: How Biotechnology Became the New Religion. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Anker, Suzanne (1996). “Cellular Archeology,” Art Journal (Spring).Google Scholar
- Anker, Suzanne (1997). “From Genesis to Gene,” paper delivered at ARC: The Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture, NYC at the conference The Artist in/and Community: Millennial Visions.Google Scholar
- Anker, Suzanne (2004). Excerpt from “Picture Perfect: From Golden Rules to Golden Boys”; keynote address, “The Image in Science”, sponsored by the Freie University in Berlin at the Hamburger Bahnof, December 13.Google Scholar
- Anker, Suzanne, and Dorothy Nelkin (2004). The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.Google Scholar
- Appelyard, Brian (1998). Brave New Worlds. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
- Armenini, Giovam Battista (1989 ). De’veri precetti della pictura, In David Freedberg (ed.), The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response. Chicago, IL/London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- BBC News (2001). “Gallery Puts DNA in the Frame,” September 19. Beard, Mark (2004). “Twisted Tale of Art, Death, DNA,” Wired (June).Google Scholar
- Bowler, Peter J. (1986). Theories of Human Evolution: A Century of Debate, 1844-1944. Baltimore, MD/London: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Celent, Germano (2000). Marc Quinn. Catalogue published on occasion of the exhibition Marc Quinn at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, 5 May-10 June.Google Scholar
- CNN (2004). “Is Anybody Out There?,” Sunday, August 8, 8:00PM.Google Scholar
- Cook, Gareth (2000). “Cross Hare: Hop and Glow,” The Boston Globe, September 17, A01.Google Scholar
- Coyne, Brendan (2004). “Anti-biotech Artist Indicted for Possessing ‘Harmless Bacteria’,” The New Scientist, July 6. http://newstandardnews.net (Accessed July 3, 2006).
- de Duve, Christian (1984). A Guided Tour of the Living Cell. New York: Scientific American Books.Google Scholar
- Eco, Umberto (1984). Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Edgerton, Samuel (1975). The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Flusser, Villem (1988). “Curie’s Children”, Art Forum XXXVI, Nr.7, March 1988, p. 15; XXVI, Nr.10, Summer 1988, p. 18; and XXVII, Nr.2, October 1988, p. 2.Google Scholar
- Frankel, Felice (2002). Envisioning Science: The Design and Craft of the Science Image. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Freedberg, David (1989). The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response. Chicago, IL/London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Fry, Northrup (1982). The Great Code. New York: Harcourt.Google Scholar
- Kac, Eduardo (website). “Genesis,” http://www.ekac.org/geninfo.html.
- Kac, Eduardo (website). “GFP Bunny,” online publication: http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html.
- Kac, Eduardo (2004). Interview with Edward A. Shanken, November 26, Oak Park, IL.Google Scholar
- Kac, Eduardo (2005). Telephone interview with Edward A. Shanken, February 27.Google Scholar
- Karafyllis, Nicole C. (ed.) (2003). Biofakte:Versuch uber Menschen zwischen Artefakt und Lebewesen. Paderborn, Germany: Mentis.Google Scholar
- Kay, Lily (2000). Who Wrote The Book of Life: A History of the Genetic Code. California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kemp, Martin (2000). Visualizations: The Nature Book of Art and Science. Berkeley/Los Angeles, CA: The University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kemp, Martin, and Marina Wallace (2000). Spectacular Bodies: The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo da Vinci to Now. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kemper, Joanna (2004). “What a Headache.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
- Kevles, Bettyann (1998). Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. Reading, MA: Perseus Books Group.Google Scholar
- Kevles, Daniel, and Leroy Hood (eds.) (1992). The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Koerner, Lisbet (1999). Linnaeus. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Lewontin, Richard (1992). “The Dream of the Human Genome,” New York Review of Books, 39(10), May 28.Google Scholar
- Marks, Jonathan (2002). What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People and their Genes. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Mitchell, Syne (2002). Technogenesis. London: Roc.Google Scholar
- Mitchell, William J.T. (2006). What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Nelkin, Dorothy, and Susan Lindee (2004). The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. Maryland: University of Maryland Press (originally published in 1996.).Google Scholar
- Noble, David F. (1997). The Religion of Technology. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Nye, Robert A. (1976). “Heredity or Milieu: The Foundations of Modern European Criminological Theory,” Isis 67(3).Google Scholar
- Ottinger, Didier (2004). “Eduardo Kac in Wonderland,” in Stephen Berg (trans.), Eduardo Kac (ed.), Rabbit Remix (exhibition catalog). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Laura Marsiaj Arte Contemporânea.Google Scholar
- Petrullo, Lynn A. (2000). “The Church of DNA.” Paper delivered at CAA Conference, February 25.Google Scholar
- Philipkoski, Kristen (2002). “RIP: Alba, the Glowing Bunny,” Wired News, August 12. Available online: http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,54399,00.html.
- Princenthal, Nancy (2000). Review of “codeX: genome”, exhibition at Universal Concepts Unlimited, NYC, September.Google Scholar
- Reichle, Ingeborg (2001). “Kunst und Genetik.” Zur Rezeption der Gentechnik in der zeitgenös-sischen Kunst. Die Philosophin. Forum für feministische Theorie und Philosophie, Heft 23, Jg. 12, Tübingen, S. 28-42.Google Scholar
- Reichle, Ingeborg (2005). Kunst Aus Dem Labor: Zum Verhaltnis von Kunst und Wissenschaft im Zeitalter der Technoscience. New York/Wien: Springer.Google Scholar
- Reodica, Julia (2004). “Un/Clean: Visualizing Im/Purity in Art and Science,” Art and Biotechnologies. Montreal, Canada: Presses de l’Universite.Google Scholar
- Rojek, Chris (2001). Celebrity. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
- Serres, Michael (2004). Orlan: Carnal Art. Paris: Editions Flammerions.Google Scholar
- Shanken, Edward (2004). “Art, Ethics, and Genetic Engineering: The Transgenic Art of Eduardo Kac,” In Dorothy Nelkin and Suzanne Anker (eds.), The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.Google Scholar
- Shea, William R. (ed.) (2000). Science and the Visual Image in the Enlightenment. Canton, MA: Science History Publications.Google Scholar
- Shlain, Leonard (1999). The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Stafford, Barbara Maria, and Frances Terpak (2001). Devices of Wonder: From the World in A Box to Images on a Screen. Los Angeles, CA: The Getty Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Staniszewski, Mary Anne (1995). Believing Is Seeing: Creating the Culture of Art. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Stepan, Nancy (1986). “Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy in Science” Isis 77(2).Google Scholar
- Sulston, John, and Georgia Ferry (2002). The Common Thread: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics and the Human Genome. London: Bantam; National Portrait Gallery Press Release, 2001, “Mark Quinn and John Sulston Unveil Genomic Portrait”.Google Scholar
- Symbiotica (2004). “Semi-Living Artist Performs in Bilbao, Spain.” April (Symbiotica press release). See http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/.
- Van Dijck, Jose (1998). Imagenation: Popular Images of Genetics. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Walby, Catherine (2000). The Visible Human Project: Informic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Weiss, Jeffrey, and Carol Mancusi-Ungaro (2000). Mark Rothko. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar