Bio Art , Αφιέρωμα του περιοδικού Art in America Marilena Pateraki
Over the past two years, we’ve all had to teach ourselves a little biology. We’ve learned how airborne germs spread, what mRNA is, and that viruses mutate. Simultaneously, many of us have spent months on end distancing ourselves from our fellow humans, communing instead with other species, whether by gardening or adopting pets. Given this abundant interaction among species, a new wave of bio art is blooming.
Bio art is that work made with nonhuman living things, either as materials or as collaborators. In these pages, you’ll find essays on art made with plants, microbes, mushrooms, and even octopuses. Provocative uses of synthetic biology distinguished the early days of bio art: most famously, Eduardo Kac’s glowing green rabbit named Alba was genetically engineered in 2000 with a fluorescent protein taken from jellyfish. But as Claire Pentecost details in her contribution to this issue, “Symbiotic Art,” this surge of new bio art—which tends to position nonhuman beings as sources of wisdom or inspiration rather than playthings—began even before the pandemic. Climate change has brought with it a growing awareness of all the other species with which we are intricately bound in that complex web of relations known as the ecosystem.
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