All of the projects sound very interesting, but Romina’s project especially piqued my interest, because of the ethical issues involved in cosmetic surgery. I immediately thought of South Korea, which actually has the most cosmetic surgeries per capita in the world. The beauty standards in South Korea are very specific, combining classic Asian beauty standards like fair skin and large eyes, as well as Western beauty standards like double eyelids. Eyelid surgery is the most popular surgery in South Korea.
For my final project, I want to explore identity politics in bioart. As technology and knowledge advances, the definition of the human body is being redefined. Genetics shows us how strikingly similar humans are to each other and the rest of the tree of life. The discovery of the microbiome calls into question the scope of the human body. As technology develops, so does art. Art has begun to come alive, turning the art object into what Eduardo Kac calls the art subject.
I read “The Biopolitics of Human Genetics Research and Its Application” by Fatimah Jackson and Sherie McDonald. They discuss genetics in relation to biopolitics and identity politics, specifically the ancestry identity business, which is purported as a way to find your true identity, but ends up being oversimplified fabrications based on little evidence and outdated race ideas. They discuss the issues with genetic tests to determine ethnic ancestry of African Americans, based on mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA, which is only maternal).
All the presentations last week were very interesting and inventive, but one of the most interesting to me was the presentation on an art market app. The idea of an app that could connect artists directly with buyers struck me both as interesting and problematic, because of how pragmatic it is. The art market is unpredictable, and driven by many more factors than simply scarcity. An algorithm would not be able to accurately reflect the market to price art pieces, even by new upcoming artists.
My zodiac sign is pig, which is lucky because I thought the pig was one of the most interesting animals we discussed as part of the zodiac art piece. I had no idea how ubiquitous pig parts are in everyday products that extend far beyond food, from soap to bullets!
I was always an inside kid. I loved classic movies and barbies, and hated bugs and dirt. I wasn’t allowed to be barefoot inside (bare feet would smudge the wood floors), let alone outside. I didn’t often follow those rules, but the outside remained a little scary to tackle without the protection of shoes - I was afraid to get dirty.
As an art historian, I am well aware of the far-reaching scope of contemporary art, exploring new technology and new theories in the context of the human condition. So the idea of "bioart" was unsurprising to me, and immediately intriguing. How do the central questions of art -- "what is art?" among them -- intersect and interact with the central questions of biology? Both fields pose equally daunting, conceptual problems.
I am a 3rd year art history major, but I'm also studying to be a physical therapist, so I am excited to study the merging of art and science. I hadn't heard of Bioart before enrolling, but its existence didn't surprise me. In studying art, my definition of what is art is constantly changing and evolving. Even so, this class is going to challenge my limits of art in new and I'm sure unexpected ways!