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.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.
Hi, my name is Craig Clark and I am a third year Biochemistry major. I don’t have any experience in the biology labs which produce these eclectic works but I do research in an organic chemistry total synthesis lab here at UCLA. I would be willing to argue that the work my superiors do in the lab is a sort of bridging of art and engineering. They strive to create extremely complex, even beautiful (as my PI would say), molecules.
I first enrolled in this course because I thought the connection between biotechnology and art was a weird one. Being part of a lab here at UCLA, I never thought that the images of cells and different aspects of the experiments we do could be considered art. The drive for most of the scientists when experiments are done are to answer a question, one that could explain the natural phenomena that we experience in every day life. Art, in my opinion, generally seems to show things as a form of entertainment or to invoke feeling in those who view it.
When I enrolled in this class, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t know exactly what bioart was, and mostly pictured things like colorfully imaged brain scans or crystallized protein. I thought of things like Rosalind Franklin’s first images of DNA structure.
Coming into this class as a fourth-year neuroscience major, and having some experience tinkering with traditional art media, I am very interested in learning about what bioart is. I have been working in a neuroscience lab focusing on neuronal underpinnings of motivated behavior, using techniques including chemogenetic manipulations, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, and immunofluorescence histology. I first encountered bioart when I was imaging brain tissue.
Upon registering for this class, I assumed the scope of the curriculum would be learning about different methods of generating art from biotechnology, rather not a look at the social and political commentary of this medium. Of course, in hindsight, it seems like the two things go hand in hand. Art IS commentary.
I’m really excited about this class.
I was unsure of what this course was going to be covering but after reviewing all of the material I am pleasantly surprised that I will be learning about the cross-bridging of two disciplines instead of using one as a mechanistic tool to explore the other. Thus far in my career, I have relatively strong foundational knowledge of science and biotechnology but limited understanding of art and bioart.
Hello! My name is Jennifer, and I am a fourth year majoring in Psychobiology. Though I was always interested in art when I was younger, I was never exposed to any artistic medium beyond still life and pencil on paper. I saw art as an entirely separate domain from the scientific and medical career that I wanted to pursue. When I decided to come to UCLA to study biology, I left both my hometown of San Jose and my artistic endeavors behind.