Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Angel: Manipulating biologies: convergences and divergences of bioart and biosciences event

Controversial and unconventional, those are the words that come up into my mind every time I remember the content of Tuesday April 12th's "Manipulating biologies: convergences and divergences of bioart and biosciences" event at the Grant Bradley Gallery. As a scientist, I have been interested about the kind of concept that makes art and science relationship closer or distant. Nevertheless, my interpretation is more related with art being source of inspiration to science and not in the opposite way. Kira O’Reilly and Professor Paul Martin showed up their experience trying to answer scientific and philosophical questions based in the human body as a subject of research performing biotechnical techniques.

My body as a specific place to experiment and create science...

Kira O’Reilly's art is able to shock any kind of person with sense of safety, or well, conventional people dedicated to experimental science. I mean, when the artist showed pictures about injuries in her body, evoking traditional Chinese medicine, this act wasn’t anything out of conventions, many people use piercings or tattoos over their bodies. However, the idea to use her body as a material to create art and to ask oneself where the border of life begging and end sounds strange.

...decontextualization of flesh from the body as material, as living, to understand conditions to exist what is life...

 Kira O’Reilly and Jennifer Willet - Untitled (Hamster Ovaries Protocol) series - The Art and Genomics Centre, University of Leiden, The Netherlands, 2008 Photo: Rune Peitersen

Breaking every rule is a good start to ask new questions and as a consequence create new perspectives about daily activities that might to be common for each people, for example persons involved in science. Let’s use the infinity behind your eyelids, close your eyes for few seconds draw the naked body of a woman inside a fume hood in your laboratory – keep in your mind these questions: What does it mean for you? What if you are the person inside this small place used to protect you against toxic substances? To be honest, when I saw that picture I felt totally confused because the elements are familiar for me, but something inside me said: What is the aim of this? It’s wrong. The most important thing is that maybe this outrageous picture has changed something introspective about me and the lab environment.

...researching how to build or rebuild tissues...

Professor Martin is carrying out a research in embryology, their main interest is focused on understanding the mechanism involved in the creation of human tissues. Professor Martin  has the belief that there are aspects from life sciences that can inspire artists to create art. During the talk was cited the case of a woman that created some fashion designs inspired by embryos. On the other hand, he declare that scientist has to think a little bit as an artist but the work of a scientist because they have to be a good observers.

These talks showed that both disciplines can interact in a dynamic dialog using different and common techniques or methods that allows the expansion of the knowledge and understanding of life.

Posted by Angel

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