Stephen Wilson’s Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science and, Technology was the reading that caught my eye out of those in the bibliography list. As someone from a science background, I’ve always been interested in the intersections of art and science and how I can utilise my scientific knowledge in the area of art and design. As the book is really thick, I only focused on one section that I was interested in, which is How Are Biology-Based Theory and Research Important to the Arts?
As the title suggest, the section explains how knowing biology-based theory can help artists in their designs. Firstly, biology research tells us about “nature, life, sex, humanness, and the body” and with these information, artists can design things to respond and fit in those contexts. One area where art and biology research intersect is the analysis and experimentation – we have to analyse how things work and how our design will compliment or utilize it, then experiment with different designs and forms to come up with the one that fits. Also, artists and their art has always been influenced by different societal factors, which include issues involving biology, like bioengineering.
The essay also mentions that Eduardo Kac, an artist, proposed a new kind of art called “transgenic art”. He says that “art needs to raise our awareness of what firmly remains beyond our visual reach but
which, nonetheless, affects us directly.” This is referring to biotechnologies such as body implants and genetic modifications. Transgenic art would be “[using] genetic engineering techniques to transfer synthetic genes to an organism or to transfer natural genetic material from one species
into another, to create unique living beings”
He explains it in greater detail in his website: http://www.ekac.org/transgenic.html
Kac actually did a transgenic artwork which was a fluorescent bunny called GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) Bunny.
On his website (http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor), he explains that “[this] is a transgenic artwork and not a breeding project.” From what I understood, he refers to breeding as creating something that is considered perfect or fits what the society/people want but this bunny created as a form of transgenic art doesn’t fit into a particular form but is still loved and appreciated for what she is.
In conclusion, I think that it is rather interesting to combine biology and art but transgenic art might be a bit too shocking for the society as of now. I still find the information in the book quite useful as it could be applied to my future projects – analyzing and experimenting with designs and also understanding the context to create art that fits it.