Working with Colours or DNA?

Contemporary artists adopt many practices that dislodge discipline boundaries, media conventions, and political interests, yet still do so within a realm of aesthetic experience, cultural and commentary, and education relevance. The image of the artist as creator, critic, theorist, teacher, activist, and archivist partly capture the range of art practice today. Many contemporary artists move easily over the terrain of other disciplines as they absorb, adapt, and co-opt a research language

The extract above made me reflect on how art and science have intertwined. According to Wilson, art and science were once united.

‘ The artist who sang stories or carved ritual objects was likely to be the person who was especially observant and wise about the ways of the heavens, the weather, animals, plants, the earth, and like and death’. – (Wilson, 2002)

Art then became different specialized field during the Renaissance era but still inevitably influenced by science. For example, painters do take the study of psychology into consideration while painting colours that convey a certain expression. This was followed by the invention of photography, which was a notable revolution in visual arts. In the modern era of digital technology; however, the links between art and science are more apparent in art especially the new media art. It has also redefined the role of certain artists in the techno culture. Many artists, of course, take different approach to working with technology in their artistic practices. Some may focus on the cultural impact of technology and some may focus on the aesthetics of it. Due to the fact that technology extends human capacities, it also gives artists more possibilities to express and communicate. Consequently, artists start to do research in other existence, which is also part of his existence.

Genesis by Eduardo Kac

Genesis is a transgenic artwork created by Eduardo Kac. Kac’s work explores the relationship between biology and information technology. The theory behind this piece of work is based on the dubious notion of human supremacy over nature. In fact, Kac played the role of a scientist in his artwork by creating synthetic gene by translating a sentence from the bible into Morse Code, then to DNA. The artwork was made interactive by enabling the audience to influence the bacteria mutation online, which is also a symbolic gesture. The result of the audience gesture was made perceptible by translating the mutated bacteria to the biblical sentence that has been changed too. I see such work as an opportunity to offer people a different approach of education and awareness, which is why Wilson (2002, p.p 35) states that the artist ‘can fill a critical role as an independent zone of research, in which artists integrate critical commentary with high-level knowledge and participation in the worlds of science and technology’


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2 Responses to Working with Colours or DNA?

  1. Julia Guest says:

    Kelly, have a look at Lynn McTaggertt’s research into biological and quantum science, in The Field and Living the Field.

  2. kteh says:

    Thanks julia!

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