• GE Cluster course evaluations
  • Final Project Peer Review
  • Seminar Evaluations
  • Art - Science - Memes
  • Artist's Overview: conceptual interelationships
  • Preparing for our in-class presentations!
  • Symbiotica
  • Critical Art Ensemble
Reading/Surfing   Assignment

No additional reading/surfing assignment this week so you can focus on your final project that is due next week. :)

  • Final project/research paper & presentation.

    Complete your paper/project/presentation.

    • Prepare a 5-minute in-class presentation of your final project/paper in PowerPoint format.
    • Turn in both the paper in MS-word format and the PowerPoint presentation file on a ZIP disk or CD-Rom at the beginning of class.
      • Label the CD-Rom/ZIP disk with your NAME, UID, and paper/project title and the date.
    • Bring the typed paper to class.
    • Be ready to present your powerpoint presentation of your project to the group in class.

    Due in class, June 5, 2003.


Critical Art Ensemble


SymbioticA Fish and Chips

"Fish & Chips is a bio-cybernetic research & development project exploring aspects of creativity and artistry in the age of biological technologies. Fish & Chips is assembled from fish neurons grown over silicon chips -"wetware", software and visual and audio art output devices - hardware.

Biology is evolving from a phase of discovery into a phase of creativity and utilization. The effects on society will be profound. Hands on wet biological art is starting to be seen as valid means of expressing cultural and artistic perceptions as well as exploring neglected areas in biological research. It explores the nature of contestable futures that may arise. The cybernetic notion of interfacing neurons with machines/robots is starting to become a reality.

By creating a temporal "artist" that will perform art-producing activities "Fish & Chips" explores questions concerning art and creativity. It is sets out to explore these themes while referring to the ever-increasing pace of the evolution of biological technologies. How are we going to interact with such cybernetic entities considering the fact that their emergent behavior may be creative and unpredictable? How will society treat notions of artistry and creativity produced by semi-living entities? " [13]


Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

Banks in Pink and Blue, 1999
mixed mediums, liquid nitrogen, and human semen, dimensions variable (installation view)
Courtesy of Max Protetch gallery
A gender-selected cryogenic sperm bank, Banks in Pink and Blue consists of a number of distinct components and agreements integral to the creation of a sculpture intended to preserve the viability of donated or “lender” sperm samples in cryogenic suspension for an undetermined period of time. While each sample is understood to be the property of the lender, the work functions as a corporate entity and generates appropriate contractual agreements with individual donors regarding preservation, ownership, and use of samples, including agreements between donors and the institutions that preserve and publicly display these samples. The project involves the contributions of twenty-five to one hundred sperm lenders selected by the artist as well as the participation of medical ethicists, geneticists, private biotech companies, lawyers, and legal consultants. Banks in Pink and Blue brings together disparate concerns of aesthetics, genetics, law, and ethics, addressing such issues as the possible transfer of sample ownership from the lender to the corporation or to other individuals. This installation includes a pair of self-contained cryobanking systems, the portable repositories known as Dewar flasks used by genetic laboratories, and commercial sperm banks for the preservation and long-term storage of specimens in the medium of liquid nitrogen. One of the outer aluminum shells of these repositories is colored pink, and the other a light blue. Since the banks must be periodically replenished with liquid nitrogen, the installation also contains a large stainless steel tank, which is used to maintain the frozen semen specimens at -321°. The vessels and the samples they contain are displayed as sculpture in the gallery setting.
Each lender is provided with a kit containing cryogenic transport media and instructions for private semen collection. The sample is then shipped to the artist by overnight air service for centrifugal separation for gender selection of spermatozoa carrying the Y- or X-sex determinant chromosome. Each sample is then stored in the appropriate pink or blue cryobank. The project is investigating the possibility that the art work may have a predetermined lifespan of twenty years, which would allow for its exhibition at other venues at future dates.
Manglano-Ovalle’s piece consisted of transforming the bullring in Playas de Tijuana, located next to the border with the US, into a radio telescope in search of aliens. The piece was monumental and minimalist at the same time, and communicated the clear metaphor that is embodied in the title -Search/En Búsqueda. The work functioned at a local level, being at a specific site, while at the same time it was "a global event, possibly cosmic" (Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle). The signals received by the antenna were transmitted via radio, internet, and through loudspeakers around the ring. However, as the artist wrote in his proposal: ´In reality contact with "the real aliens" (at the border or in space) will most likely never happen so the station [...] will probably never transmit a discernible signal. It will only broadcast the sound of "listening" (white noise).

Nancy Burson
The Human Race Machine, 2000
computer software and hardware, black formica case and chair
case: 64 x 24 x 48 in. chair: 64 x 24 x 16 in. (detail)
My intention in building The Race Machine was to allow us to move beyond difference and arrive at sameness. When I discovered, while doing research on a project involving genetics, that there is no gene for race, I felt it was one of the most important things to understand about genetics. The DNA of any two humans is 99.97 percent identical. And then The Race Machine became The Human Race Machine. We are all related, all connected, all one.
Nancy Burson was one of the first artists to realize the creative potential of linking computers with photography in the early 1980's. Her patented aging machine, which simulated the process of aging in the human face, not only pioneered the current artistic practice of 'morphing' and computer altered photography, but was also licensed by the FBI. The aging machine has been successfully used to locate missing children, even years after their disappearance. The machine was a collaboration with Burson's spouse, David Kromlich. It combined images of the missing child's pictures at the time of their disappearance with those of an older family member. It showed, often quite accurately, how the child's face might change over time.
She with He, 1996 and He with She, 1996 are part of Burson's twenty year undertaking of a profound exploration of the human face. They are morphs of male and female faces, representations of androgyny. Burson preserves the appearance of layering in the morphing process as the apparition of one image is seen through the other. These faces emerge like visitors from another world, or a future time. Androgyny, these pictures seem to be saying, is a state that we, as a species, is evolving into. Burson displays the transformation in mid stream as if we are looking at a hallucination that is being created before our eyes.

Natalie Jeremijenko

Natalie Jeremijenko   "One Tree" 1999

"Cloning has made it possible to Xerox copy organic life and fundamentally confound the traditional understanding of individualism and authenticity. In the public sphere, genetics is often reduced to ìfinding the gene for (fill in the blank),î misrepresenting the complex interactions of the organism with environmental influences. The swelling cultural debate that contrasts genetic determinism and environmental influence has consequences for understanding our own agency in the world, be it predetermined by genetic inevitability or constructed by our actions and environment. The OneTree project is a forum for public involvement in this debate, a shared experience with actual material consequences.

OneTree is actually one hundred tree(s), clones of a single tree micropropagated in culture. These clones were originally exhibited together as plantlets at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, in 1999. This was the only time they were seen together. In the spring of 2001, the clones will be planted in public sites throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Golden Gate Park, 220 private properties, San Francisco school district sites, Bay Area Rapid Transit stations, Yerba Buena Performing Arts Center, and Union Square. A selection of international sites are also being negotiated. Friends of the Urban Forest are coordinating the planting. Because the trees are biologically identical, they will render the social and environmental differences to which they are exposed in subsequent years. The treesí slow and consistent growth will record the unique experiences and contingencies of each public site. The tree(s) will become a networked instrument that maps the microclimates of the Bay Area, connected through their biological materiality. People can view the tree(s) and compare them, a long, quiet, and persisting testament to the Bay Areaís diverse environment." [12]