Art Tech L@w
BioArt - Painting with Life

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.

nikkiburnett:

“Stelarc is a Cypriot-Australian performance artist whose works focuses heavily on extending the capabilities of the human body. As such, most of his pieces are centred around his concept that the human body is obsolete.”


While somewhat disturbing, there are few that are truly willing to experiment with their bodies.

All innovation involves experimentation - with a ‘fail faster = succeed sooner’ mentality, can and should our human evolution be accelerated with self experimentation? 

Where is, and should the line be drawn? We experiment implicitly, and mostly it goes unquestioned, is explicit surgery piercing/cutting the barrier of the skin the ultimate line that we draw? 

eudaimonist:

Natural History of the Enigma, A Transgenic flower with the own artist’s DNA, by artist Eduardo Kac :

This new flower is a Petunia strain that I invented and produced through molecular biology. It is not found in nature. The “Edunia” has red veins on light pink petals and a gene of mine [a protein-coding sequence of my DNA from my Immunoglobulin (IgG) light chain (variable region)]  is expressed on every cell of its red veins, i.e., my gene produces a protein in the veins only.

The gene was isolated and sequenced from my blood… My IgG DNA is integrated into the chromosome of the Edunia. This means that every time that the Edunia is propagated through seeds my gene is present in the new flowersThe result of this molecular manipulation is a bloom that creates the living image of human blood rushing through the veins of a flower.

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 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.

staceythinx:

Her Own DNA - Living Drawings Created with Bioluminescent Bacteria with Protein Music (by artsciencemovies)

These Living Drawings depict the cycle of life and death calling attention to our own mortality. Hunter Cole creates controlled line drawings using bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria then grow on Petri dishes. The bacteria grow, first appearing with bright light, then dim and gradually die off as available nutrients are depleted. Bacteria are photographed using a time-lapse technique over a two-week period. Bacteria become collaborators in the art as it grows and dies. The bacteria contribute to the story in the art. A musical score created by the Hunter Cole for the movie is based on protein sequences found in the bacteria.

Painting with Life

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.

Some may say that using life to paint is a task more suitable to deity rather than man. 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.

BioArt

As a bit of a tribute to Halloween (and just because I think this stuff is kind of cool) my this week will address topics related to BioArt.

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.

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.

megmurry:

“left top corner: germinating plant embryo; middle top: stem of an Arabidopsis thaliana seedling expressing fluorescent proteins from jellyfish; right top corner: germinating embryo stained with propidium and let to oxidise for 3 years (metachromasia effects); bottom left corner: seed coat; middle bottom: suicide berry…; right bottom corner: synthetic self-organized structure…” 
by Fernan Federici

megmurry:

“left top corner: germinating plant embryo; middle top: stem of an Arabidopsis thaliana seedling expressing fluorescent proteins from jellyfish; right top corner: germinating embryo stained with propidium and let to oxidise for 3 years (metachromasia effects); bottom left corner: seed coat; middle bottom: suicide berry…; right bottom corner: synthetic self-organized structure…” 

by Fernan Federici

plasticbiology:

This LEGO project of mine revolves around the use of HeLa cells which I find pretty fascinating. As many in the cell biology world know, HeLa cells were derived in the early 1950’s from the cancer Henrietta Lacks had, and died from. Her story is extremely interesting and if you have time this