Generating Ideas and Reading/Surfing Response # 1

Observations and Reflections to discuss:
  • Media arts/genetics and art/ art and technology:
    • Interest in interactive art and its relationship to the emergent properties of genetics. The idea that evolution, atoms or molecules can serve as a "medium." "Some of the art I found wasn't biological enough for my taste....I looked for ways to make molecules more artistically interesting."- Jennifer Highsmith
    • net art about technology and control; about human similarity and lack of a gene for race
    • "Many people consider the aesthetic values of the artworks to be most important. However, in the case of the interactive arts, it is the ability to be dynamic that makes it fascinating...[Art/Genetics] Fundamentally, these two fields resemble each other because they both will eventually raise more questions than answers. I think this is also the reason that both fields were evolved from other fields, and will evolve into other newer fields. ...Has the effort to creating arts with more "life"set a more "audience-experience"oriented direction for the field, or suggest that we struggle to satisfy our own desires to be in control..." - Caleb Ho
    • "The florescent bunny is particularly interesting, and somewhat amusing....One of my favorites was an invention that allowed a fish in a special bowl to interact with its environment by its motions in the fishbowl." - Christine Altrock
  • Thoughts about the genome project:
    • "the beginning of something bigger than human beings can even imagine. ...I see in the future a race of ageless, raceless, people who might never be able to experience the peace of death." - Daniel Au
    • Humanity's general "fascination" with "the body" and how we manipulate it, via plastic surgery, and now the potential of genetic manipulation. The human body as a work of art that is "shaped by genes."
    • "The genes in our bodies are really microscopic artists." - Brian Mikolasko
    • Gaining awareness about both new possibilities and limitations of genetic manipulation. "At first I thought that once the code was sequenced humans would be able to do whatever they wanted and live forever by preventing age and disease. However this is not the point. I realize that there are many flaws and that they are not always easy to fix." - Brian Mikolasko
    • Genotype Vs phenotype: I found it amazing that a thing called our genotype determines our phenotype which is our outward appearance to the world. The genes seem to me to be the designers of all life controlled by their intricate mechanisms, yet influenced by the world around them and life itself. - Brian Mikolasko
    • The genome project can't be done by one lab, or even one nation, it is a collaborative international effort. The history of the project also has relevance to its interpretation: "Of all agencies or academic institutions, the DOE (fuel, new energies, nuclear technologies, atom bombs) stumbled into the insight of making a record of the bricks of life." - Dave Gerns
    • The treatment of genes as "good" or "bad" requires a human interpretation of the impact of the gene on the organism. This is the realm where genomic art can thrive, where it can explore the intricacies of a genetic self-awareness, where it can play freely with the boundless possibilities that such self-awareness brings." - Calvin Jan


  • Thoughts about art/science:
    • Ethics:
      • Science seems to be moving from what is seen as a "passive" process of "discovery" to that of an "active" process of manipulation due to the "promise" of genetic technology to create new life forms.
      • There is a sense of danger, that humanity may not be "responsible" enough to handle all that genetic technologies offer it the ability to do.
    • "Art has yet another use though. It can be used to reflect and interpret nature. In this way, art is completely parallel to science." "Digital manipulation has become so accurate in representation that, it can be used to trick people into thinking that it is real. Modern movies are a perfect representation of this. Similarly, science has created synthetic foods and animals out of a test tube." - Christian Gove
    • There are resources for art/science collaboration on the net that you had not imagined
    • Links between art and science and their historical separation:
      • "Being science-oriented all of my life....the most difficult for people to accept is the 'creating' part." - Siavash Farshidpanah
      • "To think of drawing the human body is such a simple theory, yet it didn't occur to me to link it to science but only continuously tried to draw as perfect as possible, without knowing the human body and how it functions. The reason why I became frustrated became clearer to me....If we artists learn more about the functions, elements and the construction of our body, it will make drawing/expressing the human body more enjoyable as well as beautiful. ...I learned the importance of science in art as well as the role it plays. If the foundation of logic and intelligence is set, creativity follows, creating an even more beautiful work of art." - Irene Kang
      • "Once the knowledge of nature has been assimilated into our culture, art may then humanize it. Here I define art as the human expression of nature. ... Since art is founded in our understanding of nature, it follows that an evolution in art may follow the growth in genetics." - Calvin Jan
      • "They are in a sense a form of communication. The definition of art reminds me of the concept of science." - Natalie Buu
      • "Being a science major, I believe that many things are related to science, directly or indirectly. I am interested to hear others' opinions concerning this relationship. - - Christine Altrock
      • Although art, in its pure and defined form, cannot be counted as science, the opposite is not necessarily so impossible. In many cases science can be seen as art, because along with proving theories and making new discoveries, the work is able to demonstrate a certain aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye.... Basically, science can work as art, but art can work for science too, by presenting its point of view on the direction of science, it can actually shape how society view science and shape the future of science. A lot of contemporary art comments on certain scientific advances in genetics, cloning, mutation, etc., and disagrees with the direction science is taking, ultimately influencing society to take a stand against these advances, and instead take a different approach." - Dan Riley
      • "There has always been a connection between physics, math, chemistry and biology, but never with art. Aesthetics are a major part of our culture, and if we can bring art into these fields, we can increase the beauty in our society." - Stacy Hom


  • Recurrent themes: immortality, lack of a gene for race, designer bodies/babies, are we ready for all this?, can we use this knowledge responsibly, privacy, Leonardo da Vinci as the embodiment of art + science, surprised to learn that the genome information is freely available,
  Some readings/sites related to ideas in your reading response papers:
  Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, 1976
  The Visible Human Project: