The Ohio State University > Department of Art > Art & Technology

Art 661.01

Aspects of Art & Technology: Living, Biological and Eco Art

grafted cactus artwork Cute Parasites, by Amy Youngs



"The fashionable ideology that 'artificial' lacks the inherent goodness of 'natural' is an appealing, but hopelessly simplistic notion of the intellectually chic. Artifice is the result of a deliberate intent to make. Nature also 'makes' things, using a set of basic building blocks common throughout the universe. Exchanging infinite time for deliberate design, nature has ingeniously built plants, planets, galaxies and unimaginable constructs which seem to structure the universe itself. What we call 'natura' is simply the result of whatever set of rules nature has followed in fashioning our observable reality. On planet Earth, nature has manipulated the common elements to fashion everything from bacteria to the molten core of the planet. Discoveries in the 'nano' technologies of bio, molecular, and micro engineering will re-edit the nomenclature of 'natural' versus 'unnatural', blurring if not erasing the line of distinction between 'machine' and 'organism', 'natural' and 'unnatural', 'God-given' and 'man-made'."

- Syd Mead, Visual Futurist

When the first living synthetic cell was born in 2010 the creator, geneticist Craig Vente,r announces that "the parent of this cell is a computer". Synthetic Biology, once thought to be science fiction, is now a part of our natural history. [Craig Venter TV interview]. Artist Catherine Chalmers has revealed other living constructions of our time in her photographs of Genetically Engineered Mice. Artist Richard Pell extends this idea by cataloging new organisms at the Center for Postnatural History.

We live in the Anthropocene Era, "the time of man"; a time in which concrete will be found in the geological strata. What else will be found by our predecesors? Who will our predecesors be?

You can use any material you like for this project. You could create a performance, a video, animation, drawings, prints, photographs, installation, etc... The important thing is to engage the concepts discussed here. Due for class critique on Thursday, OCT 13.

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Amy Youngs | Art & Technology | Department of Art | The Ohio State University