Miranda Goodman-Wilson :: Projects and Ideas








Design by Sequence

“DNA in Bloom”
More about this project


Genetic Art Proposal

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Some of my links on the topic of genetic arts:


What is Art…What is an Artist?, 1997
Using Google search term: “What is art?”
As I have been examining the genomic art pieces I have asked myself over and over again “is that art?” and so I decided I had better pursue a definition of what art is today. One the most interesting thoughts I got off of this site is that objects which are perceived as art today may not have been thought of as such back when they were first discovered or created. Certainly no one (except maybe Watson and Crick) would have considered DNA art back when it was discovered but now our views have changed.

    What is Art, 2000
Using Google search term: “what is art?”
This website offered interesting analysis of my question because it focuses specifically on the way in which art must respond to changing technology. One of the central beliefs of this site is that artists must form a global community to respond to the changing landscape. This reminded me of the discussions regarding a global landscape for science, particularly in light of the cross-country work on the Human Genome Project.
    Tolstoy, Leo. What is Art?, 1896
Using Google search term: “what is art?”
Following the cue of Dr. Gibbon’s philosophy lectures I decided to use historical sources to evaluate news issues. I turned to Leo Tolstoy’s century old essay on the definition of art. I was particularly moved by one of his opening quotes, “in order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. “ Thinking of human life impossible without art helps to explain why artists feel such a duty to incorporate the changes in human life and society into their artwork
Using Google search term: “Paul Simon”
Listening to a Paul Simon album on the way to class today , one of the songs got me thinking about the interplay of science and art. I logged on to his website to get the lyrics to “The Boy in the Bubble” which are as follows: “Medicine is magical and magical is art/The Boy in the Bubble/And the baby with the baboon heart.” I have been thinking a lot about the “average layperson’s” response to the biotechnology of today. To those who have never taken a class, or read about DNA technology, the idea of putting spinach genes in a pig must seem like magic. How does artistic representation play a role in this? Has the artistic response to biotechnology made it more accessible or more isolated?

Stone, Susan. Animal Rights Fine Art, 2003

Using Google search term: “animal rights art”
In thinking about my final project one theme that has come to mind repeatedly is that of animal rights. Largely inspired by my thoughts on Alba (everyone’s favorite glowing bunny) I have been thinking about the way both art and technology can change our perception of animals. Does seeing a bunny so genetically altered that it glows make her seem less like a pet to be cherished (whose rights should be protected) and more like a science experiment that you can do what you wish with? One painting on this website which interested me was one in which a buffalo was given human features (in response to the buffalo slaughter of the 1800s). Seeing ourselves in an animal might making hunting that animal more difficult.


Stein, Lisa. New Kac Show Takes a Look at Ethics, Rabbit. 2002

Using Google search term: fluorescent rabbit
This article, reviewing Kac’s exhibit/ campaign to bring Alba back from France, raised several interesting issues for me. One was the way in which technology inspires art, which then inspires more art. Kac’s exhibit featured such pieces as photos of women looking at photos of Alba. He is taking response to his original piece of artwork, and turning that into art itself. Since my piece would largely be responding to his original idea, I was interested to see how the artist himself chooses to respond.


Onion, Amanda. Artists Glowing, Live Rabbit Creation Creates Fuss, 2002

Using Google search term: fluorescent rabbit
The glowing bunny, given the vast number of websites and news articles devoted to her, is clearly one of the most well-known pieces of genetic art to appear in recent years. And so one question for me is if that means if Kac has been successful at getting his message across. But then I faced a problem--I could not figure out what his message was. This news piece offers his interpretation that “GFP Bunny” (for green fluorescent protein bunny) is designed to combine biotechnology, private family life and the social domain of public opinion into a single furry symbol.” With his intention to take Alba home as a family pet, he was intending to show the transgenic animals were no different from their non-altered counterparts. I don’t really feel he has succeeded, but the issue of how we view transgenic vs. natural animals (as pets or food sources ) is one idea I wish to explore further.


The Ethics Behind Transgenic Art

Using Google search term: “transgenic animal art”
This site begins by asking “Assuming that Alba was created only for art--Is this ethical?” This is certainly a question I have asked. Genetically altering animals may (and I say that speculatively) serve a scientific purpose, but is it abusing the technology to use it for purely aesthetic purposes? Kac was supposedly trying to raise awareness about transgenic animals, but the article questions whether or not it is right to create an animal simply to raise awareness. In imaging what art I would create, a difficulty is in devising a way for “faux” genetic art, in which animals would not actually have to suffer harm.


Animal Abuse on the Big Screen

Using Google search term: PETA
I stumble across this website while searching PETA was a response to transgenic animals but it raised an interesting issue for me. The focus of this page is Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, “Talk to Her” and his use of bull fighting. Having seen the film, and finding it to be one of the best, most artful pictures to arise in decades, I ignored (or looked past) the bull fighting scenes which this website claims led to the destruction of six bulls. Visiting this site made me think about how our perceptions about the quality of art affects our perceptions of the ethical issues. I think Alba is ridiculous as art, and therefore am quicker to judge the ethical issues. However, because I felt this movie was so beautiful, it was easier for me to ignore the morally objectionable part. This is a crisis in art--will “good” art be allowed to get away with more? If I am trying to get a point across about animal cruelty, do I need to make sure it is in a pleasing medium?