Advertisement

Between Utopia and Dystopia: Contemporary Art and Its Conflicting Representations of Scientific Knowledge

  • German Alfonso Nunez
Chapter

Abstract

This paper investigates how different artistic practices interpret and represent scientific thought in general and genetics in particular. By revising the artworks of three different artists, here we demonstrate that those pertaining to the artistic practices closely associated with the Art, Science and Technology artworld (AST), with its subgenres such as computer or bio art, not only understand science differently than its artistic peers but also represent it in a very particular and positive way. This, we argue, contrasts with the larger artistic field and is the result of this art world particular historical development. We conclude that AST’s popularity, despite struggling to assert itself in the artistic field, reflects a larger popular trend that can be also seen, for example, in the transhumanist movement.

References

  1. Anke, S., S. Lindee, E.A. Shanken, et al. 2008. Technogenesis: Aesthetic dimensions of art and biotechnology. In Altering nature, philosophy and medicine, ed. B.A. Lustig, B.A. Brody, and G.P. McKenny, 275–321. Dordrecht: Springer. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-1-4020-6921-5. Accessed 23 July 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumann, S. 2007. A general theory of artistic legitimation: How art worlds are like social movements. Poetics 35 (1): 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, H.S. 2008. Art worlds. 25th Ann. Ed. (1st ed 1982). Berkeley/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benford, R.D., and D.A. Snow. 2000. Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology 26: 611–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bostrom, N. 2002. Existential risks. Journal of Evolution and Technology 9 (1): 1–31. Available from: http://www.jetpress.org/volume9/risks.html. Accessed 23 July 2015.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2005. The history of transhumanist thought. Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1): 1–25.Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. 1993. In The field of cultural production: Essays on art and literature, ed. R. Johnson. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bregenz, Kunsthaus. 2005. Explaining Christians to dinosaurs. Kunsthaus Bregenz. Available from: http://www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at/ehtml/ewelcome00.htm?aus_chapman.htm. Accessed 24 July 2015.
  9. Chapman, J., and D. Chapman. n.d. Dinos and Jake Chapman. Available from: http://www.jca-online.com/chapman.html. Accessed 23 July 2015.
  10. Dickey, C. 2001. I love my glow bunny. Wired. Available from: http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/9.04/bunny.html. Accessed 23 July 2015.
  11. Goffman, E. 1986. Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Northeastern University Press ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Goodyear, A.C. 2008. From technophilia to technophobia: The impact of the Vietnam war on the reception of ‘Art and Technology’. Leonardo 41 (2): 169–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gray, V. 1968. Does Leonardo favour the egghead? Leonardo 1 (2): 220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grunberg, C. 2007. Attraction–repulsion machines: The art of Jake and Dinos Chapman. In Jake and Dinos Chapman: Bad art for bad people, First ed, ed. C. Grunberg, T. Barson, and C. Wallis, et al., 11–29. New York: Tate Publishing. Available from: http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/sites/default/files/press-releases/Press%20Pack%20Final%202013-11-27.pdf.
  15. Hauskeller, M. 2009. Prometheus unbound. Ethical Perspectives 16 (1): 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ———. 2013. Human nature from a transhumanist perspective. Existenz 8 (2): 64–69.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2014a. Better humans?: Understanding the enhancement project. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2014b. Utopia in trans- and posthumanism. In Post- and transhumanism: An introduction, Beyond humanism: Trans- and posthumanism, First ed, ed. R. Ranisch and S.L. Sorgner, 101–108. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Available from: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232771099_Utopia_in_Trans-and_Posthumanism. Accessed 23 July 2015.
  19. Kac, E. 1998. Transgenic art. Leonardo Electronic Almanac 6(11). Available from: http://ekac.org/transgenic.html. Accessed 24 July 2015.
  20. ———. 2000. GFP bunny. Available from: http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html. Accessed 27 Aug 2015.
  21. ———. 2007a. Art that looks you in the eye: Hybrids, clones, mutants, synthetics, and transgenics. In Signs of life: Bio art and beyond., Leonardo, ed. E. Kac, 1–28. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2007b. Life transformation – art mutation. In Signs of life: Bio art and beyond., Leonardo, ed. E. Kac, 163–184. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. ———., ed. 2007c. Signs of life: Bio art and beyond. Leonardo. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Klütsch, C. 2007a. Computer graphic-aesthetic experiments between two cultures. Leonardo 40 (5): 421–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2007b. Computergrafik: Ästhetische Experimente zwischen zwei Kulturen. Die Anfänge der Computerkunst in den 1960er Jahren, 2007th ed. Wien: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Kurzweil, R. 1999. The age of spiritual machines: When computers exceed human intelligence. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  27. Malina, F.J. 1968. Aims and scope of Leonardo: But et Portee de Leonardo. Leonardo 1 (1): 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Malina, R.F. 2001. The New Leonardos. Leonardo 34 (4): 293–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2008. A call for New Leonardos. Leonardo 41 (1): 2–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Meyer, D.S., and D.C. Minkoff. 2004. Conceptualizing political opportunity. Social Forces 82 (4): 1457–1492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Miah, A. 2009. A critical history of posthumanism. In Medical enhancement and posthumanity, ed. B. Gordijn and R.F. Chadwick, 71–94. Dordrecht: Springer. Available from:  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8852-0. Accessed 24 July 2015.
  32. Nake, F. 1971. There should be no computer art. In PAGE 18: Bulletin of the Computer Arts Society, ed. G. Metzger. London: The Computer Art Society. Available from: http://computer-arts-society.com/document/43000. Accessed 29 May 2015.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2009. The semiotic engine: Notes on the history of algorithmic images in Europe. Art Journal 68 (1): 76–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Noll, A.M. 1966. Human or machine: A subjective comparison of Piet Mondrian’s ‘Composition with lines’ (1917) and a computer-generated picture. The Psychological Record 16: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nunez, G. A. 2016. Between technophilia, cold war and rationality: A social and cultural history of digital art. PhD, London: University of the Arts London.Google Scholar
  36. Pearson, K.A. 1997. Life becoming body: On the ‘meaning’ of post human evolution. Cultural Values 1 (2): 219–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ranisch, R. 2014. Morality of transhumanism and posthumanism. In Post- and transhumanism: An introduction, beyond humanism: Trans- and posthumanism, First ed, ed. R. Ranisch and S.L. Sorgner, 149–172. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  38. Roszak, T. 1969. The making of a counter culture; reflections on the technocratic society and its youthful opposition. Garden City: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  39. Salah, A.A.A. 2008. Discontents of computer Art: A discourse analysis on the intersection of arts, sciences and technology. Los Angeles: University of California.Google Scholar
  40. Shanken, E.A. 2016. Contemporary art and new media: Digital divide or hybrid discourse? In A companion to digital art, ed. C. Paul, 463–481. Wiley Blackwell: Malden.Google Scholar
  41. Stallabrass, J. 2006. High art lite: The rise and fall of young British art. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  42. TATE Liverpool. 2006. Jake and Dinos Chapman: Bad art for bad people. TATE. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/node/236985/guide/default.shtm. Accessed 24 July 2015.
  43. Taylor, G.D. 2014. When the machine made art: The troubled history of computer art. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Available from: http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1650669. Accessed 25 Apr 2015.Google Scholar
  44. Turner, F. 2006. From counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the whole earth network, and the rise of digital utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Usselmann, R. 2003. The dilemma of media art: Cybernetic serendipity at the ICA London. Leonardo 36 (5): 389–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • German Alfonso Nunez
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH)University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations