In the past weeks we have explored many characteristics of an artist. Surrealists reinterpreted the reality of the physical world. Cyborgs redefined the parameters between humans and robots. Artists often like to challenge boundaries and limitations of their own world, because innovation many times require the breakdown of the current order. However, as technology continually advances, creativity and innovations may come with consequences.
|Mapping neurons in the retina, research supported by MIT and Princeton.|
|"Ear on Arm" by Stelarc.|
As we explore the topic bio-art, we find ourselves in a muddle of ethical predicaments. In recent decades, artists began collaborating with biologist to pioneer in the new field of art, using living tissues, cells, and organisms as a medium for expression. Although using nature as a canvas creates art that is certainly profoundly provocative, ethical problems do arise along with dealing with living organisms.
|Myoblasts attached to spherical microcarriers.|
Due to its unique nature and its intimacy with us as the human species, biology is a field that is treated with its own set of moral and ethical standards. As discussed in the Outlaw Symposium essay, large corporations and universities have distinctly structured “Big Bio”, dominating the direction in which innovation flourishes. Therefore the involvement of “outlaw” biologists and the public is crucial in order to preserve the kind of organic creativity that inspires true innovation.
|Alba: Eduardo Kac's fluorescent rabbit.|
Bio-artists certainly fall under the category of outlaw biologists. Using the very building blocks of nature itself for expression is arguably the most primal form of art. However, this dives into ethical areas in which our laws today do not accommodate. It is not to say that one should not challenge the confinements of society even when it comes to biology, but laws need to evolve to accommodate such innovation to protect human kind altogether.
"Bioart: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Using Living Tissue as a Medium." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.
Kelty, Christopher M. "Outlaw, Hackers, Victorian Amateurs: D Iagnosing Public Participation in the Life Sciences Today." Journal of Science Communication (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Levy, Ellen K. "Defining Life: Artists Challenge Conventional Classifications." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Person, and George Dvorsky. "7 Bio-Artists Who Are Transforming the Fabric of Life Itself." Io9. N.p., 2013. Web. 09 May 2016.
Vaage, Nora S. "What Ethics for Bioart?" Nanoethics. Springer Netherlands, n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.