The BioArt Initiative catalog - Kathy High

The BioArt Initiative catalog - Kathy High

The BioArt Initiative catalog - Kathy High


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<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong><br />

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute<br />

Arts Department<br />

Center for Biotechnology and<br />

Interdisciplinary Studies

“Bio Art does not permit itself to be nailed down with<br />

a hard and fast definition of the procedures or<br />

materials that it must employ. Even if we can<br />

consider the ‘manipulation of the mechanisms of life’<br />

as its medium, this assumes a very wide variety of<br />

forms both with respect to discourse and technique.”<br />

Hauser, Jens. "Bio Art - Taxonomy of an Etymological Monster",<br />

in Ars Electronica 2005.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> is a collaborative research project<br />

between Rensselaer’s Arts Department and the<br />

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies<br />

(CBIS). This project proposed to lay the foundation<br />

establishing RPI as a premiere institution for the<br />

synthesis of emerging biotechnological research and<br />

media art practice. <strong>The</strong> initiative brought together<br />

RPI’s cutting-edge biotechnology resources with its<br />

world-class electronic arts community.<br />

Inside flap back cover image: “Embracing Animal” by <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong>

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong><br />

An experiment.

<strong>BioArt</strong> Curators<br />

<strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong>, Daniela Kostova, Richard Pell, Boryana Rossa

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> was an interventionist project<br />

examining the ethics and aesthetics of engineering life.<br />

<strong>The</strong> project started in March 2007 and took place in the<br />

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies<br />

(CBIS), a research center at Rensselaer Polytechnic<br />

Institute (RPI), a university located in Troy, NY 300 km<br />

north of NYC.<br />

<strong>The</strong> project was initiated by a group of artists interested<br />

in issues of ethics and aesthetics integral to the<br />

emerging field of biotechnology. <strong>The</strong>se "cultural<br />

interruptions" occurred alongside the research and<br />

practices taking place at the CBIS. <strong>The</strong> goal was to<br />

bridge the gap between the specialized discourse of the<br />

life sciences and the public understanding of its social<br />

and cultural implications. This goal was facilitated<br />

through a series of art exhibitions, lectures and<br />

residencies where artists would collaborate with biotech<br />

researchers - all to grow the area loosely referred to as<br />

"bio-art" and create a working facility for artists to use.<br />

<strong>The</strong> goal to join together scientists and artists within a<br />

research environment was borrowed from the groundbreaking<br />

model of SymbioticA in Western Australia, and<br />

inspired by the work of artist collective Critical Art<br />

Ensemble which "explores the intersections of art,<br />

technology, radical politics and critical theory". <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> was only one of a few projects of its<br />

kind in the U.S., and it quickly brought together a vital<br />

community of artists, scientists and cultural workers<br />

interested in being a part of it, both within the RPI<br />

community, as well as nationally and internationally.<br />

This report, written by the artists/curators of the project,<br />

will document some of the remarkable exhibits and<br />

lectures that have taken place over the past year and a<br />

half, and to share what we are able to take away from<br />

this experience.<br />

Our exhibitions took place in the Center for<br />

Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, a very large<br />

building with a lot of interesting possibilities and open<br />

public spaces. As a brand new building that had not been<br />

designed with Art as one of the represented disciplines,<br />

we immediately encountered challenges. Building policy<br />

prevented us from hanging anything from the walls, and<br />

fire codes dictated we use very specific flame-retardant<br />

materials. As there was no means to compensate<br />

researchers for their time spent with artists, most were<br />

unwilling to offer access to their labs or the expertise of<br />

graduate students. Some scientists and public safety<br />

officials were concerned with "untrained" artists working<br />

in the lab. Fortunately the head PI and the Director of<br />

CBIS likened artists to incoming Freshmen students who<br />

were also given access to the facilities despite their<br />

expertise/training, thus defending artists' ability to learn<br />

the protocol and respect the guidelines. Despite these<br />

challenges, we were able to overcome many of the<br />

obstacles.<br />

In order to build up some social synergy between artists<br />

and scientists, we organized several "<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixers".<br />

<strong>The</strong>se were social events with food, drink and live<br />

musicians that took place in the CBIS building. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

parties were a place to meet and informally discuss<br />

ideas and were hugely successful and celebratory. <strong>The</strong><br />

mixers allowed these different social worlds of scientists<br />

and artists to easily collide, and were where some vital<br />

collaborations were born.<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong>ists and scientists from around the world were<br />

brought to RPI to lecture and exhibit their work and<br />

research. <strong>The</strong> lectures were open to the public and were<br />

attended by a mix of art, science and engineering<br />

students and faculty. Lecture topics discussed such<br />

issues as: the role of art and science to society; the<br />

ethics of engineering life; the history of artificial<br />

habitats and more.

Many of the artists who came to lecture also exhibited<br />

artwork in the CBIS. <strong>The</strong>se artworks ranged from purely<br />

representational works that use the tools of science to<br />

create provocative imagery, to documentation of living<br />

artworks, performances and installations that involve<br />

actual living organisms.<br />

A primary goal of the <strong>BioArt</strong> initiative was to bring<br />

artists into the lab and begin learning the tools and<br />

processes common to the practice of biological research<br />

and biotechnology. <strong>The</strong> intention was to work towards<br />

demystifying some aspects of biological research and to<br />

help scientists to reflect on their research in a broader<br />

cultural context. At least one artist was successful in<br />

building a mutually supportive and lasting working<br />

relationship with a research scientist in the CBIS. In<br />

another instance, an entire course in <strong>BioArt</strong>, "VivoArts",<br />

was able to make periodic use of biology facilities and<br />

benefit from workshops led by several researchers on<br />

campus. This course may well serve as a model for<br />

initiating future interdisciplinary relationships between<br />

the arts and sciences.<br />

<strong>The</strong> inquiries that the <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> projects brought<br />

to the table raise questions about the obvious need for<br />

further exchanges. Both artists and scientists need to<br />

reflect upon the cultural and communication basis for<br />

these collaborations. <strong>The</strong> fact that the representational<br />

works were better received than those involving "wetlab"<br />

techniques is no surprise here. To challenge what critic<br />

Brian Holmes calls the "glittering spectacles of<br />

technoscientific progress" we need new strategies and<br />

modes of collaboration. As Holmes states: "To do this<br />

requires a precise and far-ranging awareness of what's<br />

happening at the cutting edges of social change, where<br />

the new technological environments are invented and<br />

installed in daily experience. But it also requires a<br />

capacity to confront the managerial techniques, the<br />

economic rationalities and the political discourses that<br />

keep us on a development path calibrated to the needs<br />

of the few and the powerful."<br />

(http://pnau.wordpress.com/)<br />

Or rather, will science and art find a way to collaborate<br />

to bring people into both these discourses to explore,<br />

experiment and intervene?<br />

Perhaps the examples of the <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong>'s successes<br />

and challenges point out the very prophecy that Brian<br />

points to in his quote.<br />

We are still trying to find a model for the <strong>BioArt</strong><br />

<strong>Initiative</strong> that can work in the U.S. that might be<br />

somewhere between SymbioticA's artist-in-residency<br />

labs and the home kitchen bio lab. At this time, the<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> has completed its first round of<br />

programming and depleted its initial funding. We hope<br />

to find alternate models to sustain such interdisciplinary<br />

work in the future and hope that this document of our<br />

progress may help us make it a reality.<br />


Thank you!<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> would like to thank the following<br />

people for their support:<br />

Robert Linhardt (PI, Acting Director of the Center for<br />

Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies)<br />

Glenn Monastersky (Director of Operations, CBIS)<br />

<strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong> (Co-PI, Associate Professor, Arts)<br />

Rich Pell (Co-PI, Assistant Professor, Arts)<br />

Daniela Kostova (Head Curator)<br />

Boryana Rossa (Arts PhD)<br />

Ted Krueger (Associate Dean of Architecture)<br />

John Harrington (Dean of Humanities, Arts and Social<br />

Sciences)<br />

Wolf Von Maltzahn (VP of Research)<br />

Joseph Banks (Architecture graduate student)<br />

Mary Anne Staniszewski (Associate Professor, Arts)<br />

Chris Bjornsson (Director of Microscopy, CBIS)<br />

Douglas Swank (research scientist, CBIS)<br />

Don Moore (Director of Communications, HASS)<br />

Judith Frangos (Media Librarian, RPI)<br />

Nancy Roberts (Administrative Associate, CBIS)<br />

Joelle Willis (Administrative Coordinator, CBIS)<br />

Sonny Rataul (Facilities Engineer, CBIS)<br />

Seana Biondolillo (Studio Engineer, Arts)<br />

Oleg Mavromatti (visiting artist)<br />

Adam Zaretsky (Arts PhD)<br />

Jung Yoon Lee (Arts MFA)<br />

Jim Finn (Arts MFA)<br />

Julia Reodica (Arts MFA)<br />

Olivia Robinson (Arts MFA)<br />

Jesse Stiles (Arts MFA)<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> was made possible through an<br />

EMPAC Seed Grant and additional support from the<br />

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies<br />

and the Department of the Arts.


01<br />

In the Presence of the Body 2<br />

Curated by Boryana Rossa<br />


<strong>BioArt</strong> Exhibits<br />

04/18/07 - 06/18/07<br />

Exhibition:<br />

In the Presence of the Body 1<br />

Curated by Boryana Rossa, CBIS Atrium and West Hall Gallery 111<br />

Screening Series, Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Images 4,5<br />

Artists: Stelarc and Nina Sellars, Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Guy<br />

Ben-Ary, Tanya Visocevic, Bruce Murphy (SymbioticA Research<br />

Group), Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, Anton Terziev, Katia<br />

Damianova (Ultrafuturo), Eduardo Kac, Paul Vanouse, Shawn<br />

Bailey / Jennifer Willet (BIOTEKNICA), <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong>, Adam<br />

Zaretsky, Critical Art Ensemble w/ Rich Pell, Dmitry Bulatov,<br />

Julia Reodica. MEART Team (SymbioticA, Steve Potter's Lab<br />

(Georgia Tech)).<br />

One of the initial exhibitions was a collection of documentation of<br />

bioart works displayed with the aim of introducing the university and<br />

the local community to the collaboration of art and science as a field<br />

that stands as a mediator between scientific research and society. <strong>The</strong><br />

artists who participated in this show work as part of the emerging field<br />

of <strong>BioArt</strong>, an essential part of the wider genre of art and science<br />

collaboration.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ethics of the “newly created bodies” and their interaction with the<br />

anthropocentric society are addressed by the collaborative project<br />

MEART - <strong>The</strong> Semi Living Artist. MEART is a geographically detached,<br />

bio-cybernetic research project and an installation distributed between<br />

two (or more) locations in the world. Its “brain” consists of cultured<br />

nerve cells that grow and live in the neuro-engineering lab of Dr. Steve<br />

Potter, at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Its “body” is a<br />

robotic drawing arm that is capable of producing two-dimensional<br />

drawings.<br />

07/1-09/30<br />

Exhibition:<br />

In the Presence of the Body 2<br />

Curated by Boryana Rossa, CBIS Atrium<br />

Screening Series, Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Images 1,2,3<br />

Artists: Bio-Kino: Guy Ben-Ary, Tanja Visocevic, Bruce Murphy<br />

(hosted by SymbioticA Australia), Julia Reodica (USA), Eduardo Kac<br />

(USA), Paul Vanouse (USA), Ultrafuturo: Boryana Rossa, Oleg<br />

Mavromatti, Katia Damianova, Anton Terziev (Bulgaria/Russia)<br />

and Where are the Dogs Running (Russia)<br />

In part II of this exhibition “the body” is explored through works made<br />

by artists from around the world. <strong>The</strong>se artists engage with wet<br />

biology practices, or “bio-performances”, like tissue culturing and<br />

genetic engineering, not only to create their artworks but also to<br />

understand and critically evaluate the application of scientific research<br />

in the society.<br />

07/15/07 (ongoing)<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Residency:<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirror of Faith<br />

Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong> and Chris<br />

Bjornsson CBIS Labs<br />

Image 6, 7<br />

One of the first projects from the <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong> residence program is<br />

a collaboration of artists Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong><br />

and biologist Chris Bjornsson. This residency is a long-term project<br />

that involves gene sequencing, microscopy, genetic modification of Ecoli,<br />

theoretical research, documentation of scientific/artistic process,<br />

and installations in a public space. <strong>The</strong> Mirror of Faith relates to the<br />

research of the molecular biologist Dean Hamer on the genetic<br />

predisposition of human spirituality.<br />

10/15-11/15/08<br />

Exhibition:<br />

Icarus Flux<br />

Video by Craig Tompkins, CBIS, Bruggeman Conference Lobby, CBIS<br />

Image 14<br />

Craig Tompkins was a second year MFA candidate from the Arts<br />

program at RPI. His 6 min. video presented the myth of Icarus as an<br />

aesthetic treatment to the concept of bodily alteration and<br />


10/28-12/01/07<br />

Exhibition and <strong>BioArt</strong> residency:<br />

Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus<br />

Caitlin Berrigan, CBIS Atrium<br />

Images 8,9,10,11<br />

Caitlin Berrigan, one of the first artist-in-residence in the <strong>BioArt</strong><br />

<strong>Initiative</strong>, presented the ongoing series "Sentimental Objects in<br />

Attempts to Befriend a Virus" a site-specific installation and poster<br />

exhibition. For a week, Berrigan occupied the lobby area at CBIS with<br />

her geodesic "viral domes" resembling the hepatitis C virus and other<br />

viruses. During the occupancy, she had a series of "tea parties" to<br />

discuss the works she created using the formal aesthetic of the viral<br />

protein structure as the basis for each.<br />

11/15/07-01/30/08<br />

Exhibition:<br />

Sensing Terrains<br />

Patricia Olynyk, CBIS Atrium<br />

Lecture, Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Images 12, 13<br />

Patricia Olynyk presented "Sensing Terrains" with the <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong>,<br />

a print series with large scale scanned electron micrographs of sensory<br />

organs mixed with enlarged details of Japanese garden spaces. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

silk prints hung throughout the CBIS building and are now in the<br />

permanent collection of CBIS.<br />

12/15/08-01/15/08<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Residency:<br />

<strong>The</strong> Juche Idea<br />

Jim Finn, CBIS<br />

Image 15<br />

During his residency Jim Finn worked with researchers from the CBIS<br />

to create a sculpture made of live fly media that later was used for the<br />

movie "<strong>The</strong> Juche Idea". <strong>The</strong> movie follows Jung Yoon Lee, a young<br />

video artist invited to work at a Juche art residency on a North Korean<br />

collective farm.<br />

03/03-03/21/08<br />

Exhibition:<br />

Light of Reason and Dead Butterflies<br />

Soyo Lee, CBIS Atrium<br />

Lecture, Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Images 16,17<br />

Images of butterfly wing dissections. MFA student, Soyo Lee, was able<br />

to create an exchange with CBIS scientist, Dr. Douglas M. Swank, to<br />

work in his laboratory. She traded her skills dissecting insect muscle<br />

structure for microscope and materials use. As component of her MFA<br />

<strong>The</strong>sis exhibition Lee raised live butterflies in a public lab.<br />

03/24-06/24/08<br />

Exhibition:<br />

Essence: Transfigure<br />

Chris, Birgitta and Geoff Bjornsson, CBIS Atrium<br />

Lecture, Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Images 18,19,20,21<br />

Chris Bjornsson, Director of the Microscopy, in collaboration with Badri<br />

Roysam's Lab produced large scale prints of microscopic confocal<br />

images of rat brain tissue. <strong>The</strong> wide view shows the display of Chris'<br />

prints and his brother, Geoff Bjornsson's sculpture on left. This artwork<br />

was commissioned by Chris Bjornsson through the <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong>.<br />

05/15/08-06/15/08<br />

BioARt Residency:<br />

Waste to Work. Everyman's Source<br />

Olivia Robinson and Daniela Kostova<br />

Exhibition of culminating work at Schenectady Museum & Planetarium,<br />

Schenectady, NY<br />

Images 22,23<br />

Combining the practices of scientists and artists Daniela and Olivia<br />

developed sweat-powered batteries using sweat collected from<br />

different kinds of physical labor. <strong>The</strong> electricity produced by the<br />

batteries illuminates an LED map of the world at night representing the<br />

centers of energy consumption.

02<br />

Custom exhibit design<br />

Ted Krueger, Joseph Banks<br />

School of Architecture

03<br />

In the Presence of the Body 2<br />

Curated by Boryana Rossa<br />


04<br />

In <strong>The</strong> Presence of the Body 1: MEART<br />

Installation.<br />

Presented at CBIS as documentation only.<br />


05<br />

In <strong>The</strong> Presence of the Body 1: MEART<br />

Installation.<br />

Presented at CBIS as documentation only.<br />


06<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirror of Faith<br />

Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong> and Chris Bjornsson<br />

(Residency)<br />

2007 (work in progress)

07<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirror of Faith<br />

Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, <strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong> and Chris<br />

Bjornsson (Residency)<br />

2007 (work in progress)

08<br />

Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus<br />

Caitlin Berrigan<br />

Chocolates modeled on the 3D structure of Hepatitis-C virus<br />

served at Performance. CBIS (Residency)<br />


09<br />

Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus<br />

Caitlin Berrigan<br />

Invitation to Performance, CBIS (Residency)<br />


10<br />

Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus<br />

Caitlin Berrigan<br />

Performance, CBIS (Residency)<br />


11<br />

Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus<br />

Caitlin Berrigan<br />

Installation, CBIS (Residency)<br />


12<br />

Sensing Terrains<br />

Patricia Olynyk<br />

Installation, CBIS<br />


13<br />

Orb II<br />

Patricia Olynyk<br />


14<br />

Icarus Flux<br />

Craig Tompkins<br />

single-channel video, CBIS<br />


15<br />

Juche Idea<br />

Jim Finn<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Residency, CBIS<br />


16<br />

Light of Reason and Dead Butterflies<br />

Soyo Lee<br />


17<br />

Light of Reason and Dead Butterflies<br />

Soyo Lee<br />


18<br />

Essence: Transfigure<br />

<strong>The</strong> Illuminated Veil<br />

Chris Bjornsson & Badri Roysam's Lab<br />


19<br />

Essence: Transfigure<br />

Sleeping Golem II<br />

Geoff Bjornsson<br />


20<br />

Essence: Transfigure<br />

<strong>The</strong> Space of Disgust<br />

Birgitta Bjornsson<br />


21<br />

Essence: Transfigure<br />

<strong>The</strong> Space of Disgust<br />

Birgitta Bjornsson<br />


23<br />

Waste To Work. Everyman's Source.<br />

Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson<br />


Lectures and Events

<strong>BioArt</strong> Lectures and Events<br />

03/15/07<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

Oron Catts (SymbioticA) and Shawn Bailey (BIOTEKNICA)<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 31<br />

Oron Catts presented his work as the founder and director of the<br />

SymbioticA, the art and biotechnology collaborative research laboratory<br />

based at the University of Western Australia. Shawn Bailey,<br />

BIOTEKNICA associate with Jennifer Willet, presented documentation of<br />

the tissue culture sculptures he produced during an artist residency at<br />

SymbioticA.<br />

04/12/07<br />

Lecture and Social Event:<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer I<br />

Artist Talks:<br />

Julia Reodica, Boryana Rossa, Rich Pell and Alex Chechile<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 28<br />

In order to build up some social synergy between artists and scientists,<br />

we organized several "<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixers". <strong>The</strong>se were social events with<br />

lectures, food, drink and live musicians that took place in the CBIS<br />

building. <strong>The</strong>se parties were a place to meet and informally discuss<br />

ideas and were hugely successful and celebratory. <strong>The</strong> mixers allowed<br />

these different social worlds of scientists and artists to easily collide,<br />

and were where some vital collaborations were born. At this first <strong>BioArt</strong><br />

Mixer, the artist talks introduced the ideas of projects involving art and<br />

science collaborations.<br />

04/23/07<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

Steve Potter PhD (Georgia Tech,) Dr. Steven Kurtz (Critical Art<br />

Ensemble), Adam Zaretsky (University of Leiden)<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 4,5,32<br />

Steve Potter presented the MEART: Semi-living Artist project. Steve<br />

Kurtz discussed the history of biological warfare and Adam Zaretsky<br />

discussed fears of mutation.<br />

10/02/2007<br />

Social Event:<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer II<br />

Live Music Performances by Ryder Cooley, Jason Martin, Ross<br />

Goldstein & Todd Chandler<br />

BBQ and Bar, Outdoor Terrace, 2nd floor, CBIS<br />

Images 25,26<br />

This <strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer II provided food and drink on the outdoor patio at the<br />

CBIS building. Musicians played to a very relaxed group.<br />

10/03/07<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

(RE)embodying Biotechnology<br />

Lecture by Jennifer Willet – Arts PhD Colloquium<br />

West Hall<br />

Contemporary biotechnologies are often portrayed as if all forms of<br />

biological manipulation are genetic, and equivalent in protocol to data<br />

entry command key-strokes , , and<br />

. This blanket application of computational models to<br />

instances of biotechnology provides a sterilizing affect, removing all<br />

that is wet, bloody, unruly, and animal, from mass imaginations of the<br />

biotech future. (RE)embodying Biotechnology argued for a more<br />

holistic understanding of evolving biotechnologies through practical<br />

means.<br />

10/26/2007<br />

Scientist Talk:<br />

iGEM, a Competitive Race to Make Synthetic Organisms<br />

Lecture by Peter J. Woolf, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of<br />

Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, University of<br />

Michigan<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 27<br />

Drawing from the field of Synthetic Biology and its premise to change<br />

our world in the 21st century, Prof. Peter Woolf discussed how to<br />

become involved in this change through the annual undergraduate<br />

competition, the International Genetically Engineered Machines<br />

competition (iGEM).

01/01/08 - 05/01/08<br />

Interdisciplinary Course:<br />

VivoArts: Biology and Art Studio Class<br />

<strong>Kathy</strong> <strong>High</strong> and Adam Zaretsky<br />

Images 33,34,35,36<br />

A semester-long studio art course taught by <strong>High</strong> and Zaretsky<br />

introduced students to the ethics and practice of working with life as a<br />

medium. Originally designed by Adam Zaretsky, Vivoarts: Biology and<br />

Art Studio course utilized five major avenues of study representative of<br />

five ways in which Art and Biology join our cultural interpolation of the<br />

life-world. <strong>The</strong> five major areas of study this class explores include:<br />

Edible Art, Biology and Bio-Art, Art for Non-humans, Body Art, Ecology<br />

and EcoArt.<br />

01/15/08<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

An Indiscrete Life<br />

Lecture and screening by Boo Chapple<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 30<br />

Boo Chapple gave a talk about her project concerning carbon<br />

emissions and carbon trading systems where she discussed conceptual<br />

and practical details of wearable carbon offset schemes, urine recycling<br />

devices and a self-pharming system.<br />

01/23/08<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

Sound, Matter, Flesh: A history of crosstalk from medicine to<br />

contemporary art and biology<br />

Lecture by Boo Chapple – Arts PhD Colloquium<br />

West Hall<br />

What does it mean to use sound as a means to engage with and<br />

manipulate biological systems? How does sound differ to image as a<br />

way of accessing and experiencing dynamic micro-material processes?<br />

Boo Chapple traced a particular history of relations between sound and<br />

the body (in a broad, biological sense), one that migrates across the<br />

disciplinary boundaries of art, science and technology and arrives at a<br />

contemporary nexus of projects that engage both with sound and the<br />

life sciences.<br />

02/25/08<br />

Artist Talk:<br />

Bioteknecronomicon<br />

Lecture by Philip Ross<br />

Bruggeman Conference Center, CBIS<br />

Image 29<br />

In this talk visiting artist Philip Ross traced a history of ideas that have<br />

informed the popular imagination of biotechnology and alien life forms.<br />

<strong>The</strong> representation of these biological phenomena were infused with<br />

ideas refined in the Baroque period. While framing his own work within<br />

these ideas, Philip charted a language that has binded the gardens of<br />

Versailles to computer renderings of sub-cellular phenomena.<br />

04/04/08<br />

Artist Talk and Film:<br />

Strange Culture<br />

Lecture by Dr. Steven Kurtz with film screening of Strange Culture by<br />

Lynn Hershman Leeson<br />

Screening benefit and poster show, Christ Church, Troy, NY<br />

Joint event by the Sanctuary for Independent Media and the <strong>BioArt</strong><br />

<strong>Initiative</strong><br />

Image 32<br />

Renowned artist and SUNY Buffalo professor Steve Kurtz of Critical Art<br />

Ensemble presented a benefit screening of "Strange Culture," a<br />

documentary by Lynn Hershman Leeson, about an attempt by the<br />

Justice Department to frame him as a bio-terrorist.<br />

04/09/08<br />

Social Event:<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer III<br />

Live Music: RPI Chamber Orchestra, Michael Century, David<br />

Gibson, Jesse Stiles, Willie <strong>The</strong> Moak, Timothy Sweeney, David<br />

Scheffel. Light show: Jesse Stiles<br />

Food and Bar, Inside Atrium, 2nd floor, CBIS<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer III provided food and drink in the Atrium of the CBIS<br />

building. A variety of musicians, from rock and classical to avant garde<br />

and DJ punk, played to an audience of students and faculty.

25<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer II<br />

CBIS Terrace<br />


26<br />

<strong>BioArt</strong> Mixer II<br />

Poster.<br />


27<br />

iGEM: International Genetically Engineered Machines<br />

competition<br />

Peter Woolf<br />

2007<br />

28<br />

Transgeneography<br />

Richard Pell, Center for PostNatural History<br />


29<br />

Bioteknecronomicon<br />

Philip Ross<br />

2008<br />

30<br />

An Indiscrete Life<br />

Boo Chapple<br />


31<br />

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr<br />

Tissue Culture and Art Project<br />


32<br />

Critcal Art Ensemble and Lynn Hershman<br />

"Strange Culture" film and "Seized" installation.<br />


33<br />

VivoArts Class<br />


34<br />

VivoArts Class<br />

DNA Extraction<br />

2008<br />

35<br />

VivoArts Class<br />

DNA Extraction<br />


36<br />

VivoArts Class<br />


<strong>The</strong> Rensselaer <strong>BioArt</strong> <strong>Initiative</strong><br />

March 2007 - June 2008

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