This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
Some content are only accessible to registered users.
Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.
I was excited that we were able to have Terence Koh come talk to us. I’m familiar with Koh from living in New York City; from what I understand, he’s pretty controversial, which I tend to gravitate toward... at least initially. Terence spoke for quite a while in a stream of consciousness and over time, I noticed a growing feeling of discomfort in me. Koh waxed poetic about love; that most people don’t think about what love really is, that love is light and God, that he knows what love is, over and over again. After a while, I began to feel skeptical about him because to me, it felt like his words were hollow. Anyone could (and many people have) said such things about love. Love equated to light and God is so common and in my opinion, barely scratches the surface of what it really is.
Last week, I attended two workshops on “What’s Next? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art” hosted by Linda Weintraub. One of these workshops was titled “Totally Warm: The Materiality of Heat” in which the presenter Ian Kerr challenged participants to think about alternate forms of heat.
Last week, I participated in the series of art workshops “What’s Next? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art”, led by the author and artist Linda Weintraub. I am most interested in the first and the second chapters, in which visiting artists Wenda Gu and Laura Parker presented their projects.
Despite the differing individual topics, the workshops seemed to share a common theme of transformation of the human body into a machine; underlying this idea is a desire to reassert the utility of the body, something that is often overlooked especially as technologies improve and take over more of the functions in our lives. Whether through converting our own carbon dioxide to inflate tubes or using the microbiomes we harbor on our hands to ferment, Weintraub’s workshops proved that our bodies could function similar to machines in accomplishing work.
Ever since I was a child I have always been interested in plants and gardens. My grandparents had 5 acres of land up in Northern California where I grew up. They planted tons of fruit and nut trees and had a garden every year. I loved going over and seeing how big the tomato plants had got. It gave me so much joy I eventually decided to grow my own garden.
Last Thursday, I attended the symposium, where Linda Weintraub discussed her new book What’s Next? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art. I had never heard of this subject before, and so it was very interesting for me to learn about it and see Ms. Weintraub’s comments and opinions regarding this subject. She discussed her story with the land she had bought in uptown New York and how that influenced her so much. She explained how the land was “so beautiful” and then thought about how she could contribute back to the land.
I personally really enjoyed all the workshops, and getting to better understand the constant collaboration between art and science.
Wenda Gu's workshop really stood out to me because he uses natural mediums to create his work. Not only does he create beautiful pieces of art but he also makes intelligent statements about life. He has created art using human hair, menstrual blood, tea leaves, algae paint and more. It was fascinating to hear him speak about his work and how it has been the subject of controversy many times. I found it particularly interesting to hear him describe how his art fades and is temporary because the materials he works with eventually succumb to degradation as part of the natural life cycle.
Last week, the class and I participated in a series of workshops that were centered around the book What's Next? Eco-materialism and Contemporary Art by Linda Weintraub. Each workshop was based on a chapter from Linda Weintraub's book. Here, I will go over each workshop and the different type of activities we did.
Workshop 1: Secretions
CHAPTER 1: SECRETIONS
“Artistic expression via DNA”. The title of the workshop immediately piqued both the artist and biologist in me. The UCLA Broad Center was hosting a series of workshops centered on individual chapters of Linda Weintrub’s book What’s Next? Eco-Materialism in Contemporary Art, and each chapter featured a different artist.
This is a test!
Throughout these blogs, I have not only learned so much, from the chemical dying processes of indigo, to polymers, lastly to bioplastics, but my eyes have now opened to the world just a bit more. I have a new deep appreciation for both the sciences and the art field and want to continue my learnings as an artist as well as a scientist. Also, I have made it my goal to raise awareness about the impacts of plastics on our environment and our own health.