The Connection Between Biotechnology and Art

I first enrolled in this course because I thought the connection between biotechnology and art was a weird one. Being part of a lab here at UCLA, I never thought that the images of cells and different aspects of the experiments we do could be considered art. The drive for most of the scientists when experiments are done are to answer a question, one that could explain the natural phenomena that we experience in every day life. Art, in my opinion, generally seems to show things as a form of entertainment or to invoke feeling in those who view it. I have never put together that biotechnology can serve as both art, and also serve a practical purpose in the lab as an explanation of natural phenomena. In fact, I thought that the use for biotechnology as art was a waste and unethical when using animals. But, after looking at the first few readings and videos pertaining to this course, I now realize that art and biotechnology do have a connection and it can bring massive insight.

What struck me as most interesting was the work of the pioneer of bioart, Joe Davis. His work on the Microvenus project was both intriguing and extremely unusual to me. The project involved the placement of the icon on the genome of bacteria. Engineering E. coli genome to send out a message out to space to extraterrestrials seemed to me completely absurd but at the same time it shows a different form of thinking that science must also need. As of now, I don't have a set view on this project and bioart as a whole, but as this course progresses I hope to have a better understand and appreciation of biotechnology and art.