This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.


The race towards the next mass extinction

The idea of “force majeure” being the occurrence of something beyond reasonable control of humans is an interesting concept that I was not familiar with before. Becoming more familiar with the idea, I am not sure whether “human generated climate warming” as in the context the Harrisons have described it, would be an example of something beyond control.

Week 3

It never dawned on me that plants could have comparable behavior to animals. Though plants are animate beings that consume, grow, reproduce and eventually decease; I’ve always attributed non-thinking characteristics to them as this is what I have been taught in psychology classes.


My Take on Eco-Art

This week in class, we visited Linda Weintraub's exhibit Welcome to My Woods, where we explored the ways that we, as humans, can find enjoyment in nature through various categories: Flavor and Aroma, Mass & Weight, Form & Beauty, Touch & Texture, and Volume & Dimension. Weintraub's exhibit, as well as a look into her work LIFE! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, has opened my eyes to an entirely new sphere of ecology and nature that I had no idea existed.

What Nature Can Offer

Growing up in urban areas my whole life, I have fairly limited amount of experience with nature. However, every summer growing up I would travel to rural areas in Quezon Province, Philippines. I loved the outdoors and everything about it, but then I would go back into the city and forget the feeling. Standing on beaches, seeing the beauty of the mountains, and also the smells of nature were all evoked during the experience in Linda Weintraub's woods.

Save Our E(art)h

Nature and I have never been close friends. While I prefer to appreciate nature from behind a TV screen and narrated by David Attenborough, there is no denying that we rely heavily on the environment for food, water, and breathable air. Humans have had an enormous impact on the Earth as we exploit it for food and fuel, threatening many species through destruction of their habitat and pollution. While there are still people who deny it, the climate of our planet is changing and we must take action to prevent our planet from becoming inhospitable.

Phantom Plant Brain

I don’t think about my relationship with the world around me enough. As a STEM major, I feel like its especially easy to get swamped in your own world of worry. We are all students in a rather prestigious university, trying to make a career for ourselves. However, it is so important to step back every once in a while and be mindful of the environment around us. 

Ecosystem and Human

After this week, we had some experiences to touch, smell, stand and feel the productions of nature, people who live in the city with scattered green fragments between the high building or in the front of your yard are not enough to get sufficient pleasure from nature. Or we cannot say that those green fragments are parts of nature, we called a garden, a park or a green eco-shelter. Comparing with nature, human respects nature but expect its giving since too little was known about complex natural systems.

The (Plant) Lives Around Us

I was born and raised in San Jose, which is what I imagine to be the furthest possible place from nature. As the heart of Silicon Valley, though we still have our share of plants and wildlife, our waters and soil have long since been contaminated by chemical overflow from the tech industries. Outside of my own backyard, my only significant experiences in nature have required long drives outside of the city to designated national parks or landmarks.

Manipulating Our Relationship with Nature

In this week’s video and reading material, I am interested in the ability for humans to use natural, ecological relationships for our advantage. I find this interesting because, when reflecting on my relationship with nature, it seems as though we are not only trying to observe and study nature, but also trying to use those systems to our advantage. From my experience, this manipulation is especially gaining ground in science.

Genetic Information, Privacy, and Ethics

This week’s lecture videos raise a multitude of ethical questions regarding human life. What constitutes human life? What rights do humans possess in regards to privacy and bodily alteration? Do individual humans own their bodies or their genetic material? Are cybernetic enhancements considered a form of personal property, or an aspect of personhood?

The Connection between Biotechnology Art and Life

Before taking this class, I might know biotechnology enrich our life. For example, I know that by using biotechnology to heal the destroy skin, called artificial skin.  A little bit closer to life, I know that milk with lactose-free injects the biotechnology process.  However, never thought there is a magic relationship between biotechnology and art. After watching this week online materials, I open a new door of knowledge in a different direction.  When I saw the third hand picture, the biotechnology, chip technology, and Nanogenerators are poised to change lives.

Biotech and Art: forms of life and the interaction between technology and daily life

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.


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