Vs. Art: where are we in our dialog?
gene splicing - gfp in to mice, or firefly protein in to tobacco, or
goat + sheep embryo to create knowledge through empiricism
gfp bunny and others, bacteria with images encoded in genome, microacoustic
signatures to create knowledge through aesthetic experiences, visual
Marshall McCluhan: the "medium is the message."
last week: Practices of looking
Use of language and images to create meaning about the world. (understand,
of representation: language, visual media, with "rules and conventions
about how they are organized."
Code is a system of rules and conventions for organizing/communicating
So is the
structure of a gene, or genes and other sequences on chromosomes.
If the"media is the message" then, what is the message in using
genetics as a representational medium?
debate: is it a reflection or are we creating the world through these
constructs? Is the way we make meaning only through specific cultural
constructs? Would GFP bunny have the same meaning for someone in a nonwestern
culture that is not invested in the potential economic gains of genomics?
Barthes, French theorist
"to denote" - presents evidence, apparent truths, literal,
cultural/historical context of the image and the viewers' lived, felt
knowledge of context, social and personal meaning
- Use these
concepts to discern differences in images functioning as evidence vs
cultural values and beliefs expressed through connotation; hidden set
of rules and conventions specific to certain groups are made to seem
universal an given for a society. Myth takes a connotative meaning and
makes it appear denotative, (literal/natural). See this in advertising
where a product is presented as part of a lifestyle, you are buying
- Mode of
production, relationship to time, ability to be reproduced affect the
meaning we make
photos/film - time delay between image capture and distribution:
electronic film (video): real-time "live" transmission,
simultaneous with events, widely reproduced
film/TV: combination of images with sound/music in to narratives,
meaning dependent on sequencing - time delay as sequence is compiled
images: simulations represent a virtual world, yet can be set forth
as real; lower truth-value for altered images
affects meaning: a change in context produces a change in meaning
power and ideology (systems of belief) ;
(def'n): "the broad but indispensable, shared set of values
and beliefs through which individuals live out their complex relations
to a range of social structures." A way of making certain culturally/socially
created values/assumptions seem as if they are natural (inevitable).
Create assumptions about the way things and how they should be.
Key: take these as "natural" "given" "inevitable"
and not seen as belief systems created to further a specific culture.
Social institutions (family, education, medicine, law, government,
entertainment industry) produce and affirm ideologies.
integral to ideologies: images and media representations used to produce
ideologies and used as tools of persuasion to adopt an ideology; how we
"look" at these images/media representations is linked to our
projected on to images/media representations (regulation, categorization,
identification, evidence, notions of good/evil, beauty, social norms)
mug shot: framing and composition connote deviance and guilt.
assumptions underlie aesthetic concepts: dark = evil, light = good
using false representations to lure people into holding beliefs that
may compromise their own interests (prop. Vs. adv. - "truth in
process: personal ideologies,
is genomic art engaging and challenging?
implications of biotechnology: raise awareness
- Is bioengineering
the same or different from conventional breeding? What happens when
a bioengineered plant is under "stress"? Stress induced pleiotropic
effect: control of many traits by one gene under conditions of stress
(drought, lack of nutrients etc.) these are not desired outcomes of
plant engineering and are not naturally occurring, are unexpected and
un controlled.(see http://www.biotech-info.net/AAASgen.html)
- New technologies
change our perceptions of ourselves and our world. With biotechnology
the distinctions between natural and artificial blur.
art (does not use finite raw materials, uses digital tools [software,
computers, digital cameras]) has been developed over the past 7+ years,
and was seen as a way of democratizing the arts. (e.g. anyone can publish
on the Internet). Where will genetic art take this?
in the sciences create new ways of see ing the world, which means they
create new ways of making representations of the world. Here is where
art and science cross paths: ways of representing the world."
Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code, 1996