BioArt: New Directions in Art & Biotechnology

Ingeborg Reichle
Fine Arts and Media Art, Media Theory
2019S, Vorlesungen (VO), 2.0 semester hours, course number S02470

Description

Moving from the studio into the laboratory has provided the fine arts with a variety of new materials in recent years — bacteria, cells, tissue cultures, or transgenic organisms — as a means of artistic expression. But at the same time this has also made it necessary for artists to become acquainted with new epistemologies and the logic of the techno-scientific regime, which governs experimental bench work through protocols, techniques, methods, instruments, and equipment, as well as a complex set of human and non-human agents and, most notably, with patents and the flow of global capital. With the emergence of BioArt, biotechnology became part of the art world and provoked broader reflection on the epistemological status of biofacts and the ethics of turning biology into technology. Whereas in the early days BioArt primarily sought to reveal the state of the art of biotechnology, current practices interrogate the limits, boundaries, frontiers, and frameworks within which life can exist. Traditional distinctions between the natural and the artificial, subject and object, human and non-human agents no longer hold when confronted with the enormous ecological challenges that exist today, spawning new narratives about speculative biology, which is becoming a major issue in art and design. The lecture series will discuss a number of current approaches for bringing art, design, and speculative biology into a fruitful liaison, and offer insights into the way biotechnology is perceived and utilised today which is deeply rooted in current forms of capitalism and mass consumer culture.

 

Examination Modalities

You have to attend the lecture on a regular basis, unless you have a good reason for your absence. Attendance will be registered on a sign-in sheet at the beginning of each class. To participate effectively in class it is expected that students have read some of the the works on the required reading list. Students are required to use concepts and themes from the reading assignments in their final exam. Each student will take a final oral exam (20 minutes) at the end of semester.

On March 12, 2019, topics for the lectures will be assigned to students and information provided on topics and issues that will be covered during the course of the term. Documents and materials will be available online at Base Angewandte from March 1, 2019 onwards. Please be ready to give your full attention to the lecture each time we meet.

Comments

BASE Angewandte is an important source of information for the lecture. Useful resources such as this subject guide and digital documents for further readings will be available there. Check also the website medientheorie.ac.at regularly for subject announcements and updates.

Reading list

Howard Boland (2013). Art from Synthetic Biology; Phil. Diss, University of Westminster (Reader)

Joachim Boldt (2013). Life as a Technological Product. Philosophical and Ethical Aspects of Synthetic Biology. In: Biological Theory 8, 4, pp. 391–409 (Reader)

Jenny Boulboulle (2012). ‘In Touch With Life. Investigating epistemic practices in the life sciences from a hands-on perspective’ in Bio Art, Descartes as a hands-on practitioner, molecular genetics laboratories; Diss, University of Maastricht (Reader)

Anthony Dunne, Fiona Raby (2014). Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Reader)

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter, Alistair Elfick & Drew Endy (2014). Synthetic Aesthetics. Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Kristin Hagen, Margret Engelhard, Georg Toepfer (2016). Ambivalences of Creating Life: Societal and Philosophical Dimensions of Synthetic Biology. Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment, vol. 45, Cham: Springer International Publishing (Reader)

Maria Antonia Gonzalez Valerio (2012). BioArt on the Verge of Aesthetic Ontology. In: ANNALES Ser. hist. sociol. 22, pp. 327-334 (Reader)

Lindsay Kelley (2016). Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism and Technoscience, London: IB Tauris.

Ingeborg Reichle (2009). Art in the Age of Technoscience: Genetic Engineering, Robotics, and Artificial Life in Contemporary Art, New York, Springer (Reader)

Günter Seyfried, Lei Pei, Markus Schmidt (2014). European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror. In: Bioessays, vol. 36, pp. 548-551 (Reader)

Robert Zwijnenberg (2014). Biotechnology, Human Dignity and the Importance of Art. In: Rethinking “Nature”. Ripensare la “natura”, Bd. 1, Burning Issues/Questioni aperte, ed. Flavia Monceri et al., Teoria (Pisa), Edizioni ETS, pp. 131-148 (Reader)

Key Words

bioart, digital art, media theory, Medientheorie, design, media art

Dates

12 March 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
19 March 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
26 March 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
30 April 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
07 May 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
14 May 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
21 May 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
28 May 2019, 13:45–16:15 Seminar Room 21
18 June 2019, 14:00–18:00 Abteilung für Medientheorie (examination)
25 June 2019, 14:00–18:00 Abteilung für Medientheorie (examination)

Course Enrolment

From 15 February 2019, 12:00 to 08 April 2019, 12:00
Via online registration
via email: ingeborg.reichle@uni-ak.ac.at

Fine Arts: Specialisation in Photography (2. Section): Medientheorie (2.0 ECTS)

Fine Arts: Specialisation in Painting (2. Section): Geisteswissenschaftliche LV nach Wahl (2.0 ECTS)

Design: Specialisation in Applied Photography and Time-based Media (1. Section): Media Theory and Communication Theory (2.0 ECTS)

Design: Specialisation in Applied Photography and Time-based Media (2. Section): Humanities (2.0 ECTS)

Design: Specialisation in Graphic Design (2. Section): Media Theory and Semiotics (2.0 ECTS)

subject Fine Arts / Art and Communication Practices (1. Section): Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.5 ECTS)

subject Fine Arts / Art and Communication Practices (2. Section): Aus Kunst und Kulturwissenschaften, (davon min. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

subject Textile Design / Textiles - Art, Design, Styles (1. Section): Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.0 ECTS)

subject Textile Design / Textiles - Art, Design, Styles (2. Section): Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (mind. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

subject Handicrafts / Design, Architecture and Environment (1. Section): Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.0 ECTS)

subject Handicrafts / Design, Architecture and Environment (2. Section): Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften, (min. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

Art Education: subject dae (Bachelor): FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis (2.0 ECTS)

Art Education: subject dex (Bachelor): FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis (2.0 ECTS)

Art Education: subject kkp (Bachelor): FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis (2.0 ECTS)

Art Education: subject tex (Bachelor): FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis (2.0 ECTS)

TransArts - Transdisciplinary Arts (Bachelor): Theoretical foundations (2.0 ECTS)

co-registration: possible (2.0 ECTS)

Individual courses: possible (2.0 ECTS)