Developments in biotechnology have enabled artists to experiment with living tissue, bacteria, and life processes in ways that can be either beautiful or creepy-cool in a Frankenstein kind of way. Bioart engages scientists in close collaboration with artists to create artworks that raise thought-provoking questions about life, culture, and the ethical implications of using living material for social or aesthetic exploration. Pure “BioArt” tends to involve more direct interference with living organisms, such as utilizing genetic engineering to create living works of “transgenic art.” A wide range of works fall under the category “BioArt,” which was coined by artist/scientist Eduardo Kac, the creator of the glowing GFP Bunny. It ranges from beautiful artworks involving softly glowing fluorescent bacteria, to grotesque masses of engineered tissue. For an interesting example check out “bulletproof skin” made out of silk and human skin cells, a collaboration between Dutch Artist Jalila Essaidi and researcher Randy Lewis. Using living forms as art is not a new phenomenon, yet it has traditionally taken more “natural” forms such as the delicate, mutilated bonsai tree, or occasionally extreme practices of animal or plant breeders who wish achieve certain aesthetic ideals. Digital technology has enabled artists to use living forms to a variety of ends. See Phonofolium for a beautiful exploration of life, music, and electrical energy flow. The aesthetic possibilities of bioart expanded when Roger Tsien’s team of scientists painted an island sunset with bacteria infused with fluorescent proteins, which evidenced the versatility of the medium as well as the limited art skillz of biochemists. Fluorescence occurs when a substance absorbs light of one wavelength then emits it in a different wavelength. It’s the same principle fluorescent lights are based upon, though in this case the fluorescence was first isolated from a jellyfish (Aequorea victoria). Tsien was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008 for his discovery of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). The whole spectrum of colors is now available, making this medium more similar to traditional paint pigments than to some more monstrous BioArt creations. In addition, there are a number of fluorescing transgenic pets available. In addition to the standard transgenic mice (dubbed NeonMice), an individual can purchase green-fluorescent pets such rabbits, pigs, fish. More recently, fluorescing cats were engineered to be resistant to FIV and possibly advance AIDS research. The brainbow currently ranks as my favorite example of bioart. Created by scientists at Harvard University to allow them to visualize neural circuitry, the brainbow is not only colorful (which gains it points in my eyes) but also involves brains (Halloween candy for zombies). Scientists splice in genes that code for flourescent proteins. These manifest in a rainbow of different colors, allowing individual neurons to be distinguished from their near neighbors. The transgenic brainbow mice thus altered enable scientists to construct maps of neural circuitry and the relationships between different brain regions. The advancement of bioengineering technology has led to the creation of fields which have revolutionized science. For example, optogenetics - in which light-sensitive neurons in genetically engineered animals can be turned off and on using fiber optics - was chosen as the Method of the Year in 2010 by Nature Methods and allow neuroscientists unparalleled access into the inner workings of the mind. Yet some may still say that painting with life is a task more suitable to deity than man.
Transforming Creation: The Fair Use of Machines http://arttechlaw.com/transforming-creation-the-fair-use-of-machines
This is a sticky, complicated issue. But what can you expect from a legal system that can’t even figure out how to categorize software art?
Novel AI programs utilizing machine learning algorithms to generate novel creative works and innovative solutions to unsolved problems are fun things to research, but you might as well be tossed into a briar patch than attempt to litigate it (fun for lawyers, nothing but pain and confusion for anyone else).
http://arttechlaw.com/ Explore the Boundaries of the Edge
Last month, researchers created an electronic link between the brains of two rats separated by thousands of miles. This was just another reminder that technology will one day make us telepaths. But how far will this transformation go? And how long will it take before humans evolve into a fully-fledged hive mind? We spoke to the experts to find out.
World’s Most Beautiful Abandoned Places
Italian product manager and web designer Francesco Mugnai recently added a collection of images to his blog touting some of the most beautiful images of abandoned spots and modern ruins that he’d ever seen. The images Mugnai has captured come from empty castles, shuttered power plants, and dilapidated churches around the world. From a sunken yacht in Antarctica to a forever-closed amusement park in Japan, these images all make up a sort of anti-phoenix; rather than rising as new from the ashes, these husks remain preserved in decomposition, forcing viewers to confront the strange beauty of ruination.
Lord Shiva Devi Parvati, and Baby Ganesh
Maha Shiva, the god-king
Artificial intelligence is arguably the most useless technology that humans have ever aspired to possess. Actually, let me clarify. It would be useful to have a robot that could make independent decisions while, say, exploring a distant planet, or defusing a bomb. But the ultimate aspiration of AI was never just to add autonomy to a robot’s operating system. The idea wasn’t to enable a computer to search data faster by ‘understanding patterns’, or communicate with its human masters via natural language. The dream of AI was — and is — to create a machine that is conscious. AI means building a mechanical human being. And this goal, as supposedly rational technological projects go, is deeply strange.
Consider the ramifications of a conscious machine: one that thinks and feels like a human, an ‘electronic brain’ that dreams and ponders its own existence, falls in and out of love, writes sonnets under the moonlight, laughs when happy and cries when sad. What exactly would it be good for? What could be the point of spending billions of dollars and countless hours of precious research time in order to arrive at a replica of oneself?
Go read it..
We are not near the degree of technology that popular Trans-humanist orientated culture romanticizes but the concept art has always been a good masturbatory aid.
It would make interaction with computers easier for those without the ability to. It would provide perspective from a non human point of view because it would not be burdened with human inclinations, limitations and weakness. Aside from the obvious general computing advantages if an AI was able to design a better computer we would have technically achieved the singularity.
Cute Lawyers #23-24: 212
Sadly, the firm never got around to fixing its number so it wasn’t one digit off from a telemarketer’s. It took a very confused call from a major client to change that.
“The act of inserting a small piece of content into the stream – for example a tweet or a like – can be compared to a neuron being fired in the brain. The signal is then broadcasted to about 1000 other neurons through synapses (connections). These neurons may then choose to fire to their connected…
“A Machine to End War” (Liberty, February, 1935)
“There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without.”
A few blog posts back we provided a link to a beautiful video describing the Fibonacci series. The image above is from that video.
Now researchers have found that one of the patterns derived from the Fibonacci series that is present in sunflowers provides the most efficient arrangement for mirrors in solar power generation.
The title of the article from The Economist? “In matters of clever design, nature has often got there first.”
Two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have now devised a better and more compact way of laying out arrays of mirrors. Slightly to their chagrin, however, and somehow appropriately, they found when they had done the calculations that sunflowers had got there first.
Pretty cool, huh?