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Bioart and Bildung — Wetware: Art, Agency, Animation, an Exhibition as Case Study

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ABSTRACT

Recent events in the field of biology have further unfixed the definition of life. The negotiability of “life” is at the center of the exhibition “Wetware: Art, Agency, Animation” at the Beall Center for Art + Technology at the University of California, Irvine. The exhibition includes art by nine international artists working in the avant-garde area of contemporary art called “bioart.” This article is devoted to the unique educational space opened through the practice of bioart, focusing on how the exhibition brings the scientific question “What is life?” to a public audience. Bildung, a term that translates as education but encompasses exploration and growth, is based on the holistic unity of science and art and is used here to show that neither science nor art sacrifices legitimacy or distinction within bioart. Art can suggest design and be useful; science can point to abstraction and be poetic. Bioart inspires a chain of curiosity about the form, materials, media that artists use to probe, shape, direct, and display scientific processes and concepts.

No MeSH data available.


Adam Brown, “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” 2012. a) View of alchemical installation. b) View of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope.
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f3-jmbe-17-409: Adam Brown, “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” 2012. a) View of alchemical installation. b) View of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope.

Mentions: Adam Brown’s piece brings laboratory equipment into the gallery in order to replicate early modern chemistry. His work catalyzes marine bacteria to create a natural element and thus exemplifies the limit biology of marine extremophiles. Brown’s “The Great Work of the Metal Lover” is an alchemical machine hosting the metallotolerant extremophilic bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans that, under the engineered atmosphere created in the gallery, produces gold. The installation has three components: 1) the machinery, which is a glass alchemical bioreactor, a gas manifold, and a gas tank filled with carbon dioxide and hydrogen; 2) a series of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope; and 3) a small specimen of gold from the bioreactor in a small display case mounted on the wall (Fig. 3). The extreme minimal ecosystem within the bioreactor forces the bacteria to metabolize high concentrations of gold chloride, turning soluble gold into usable 24K gold.


Bioart and Bildung — Wetware: Art, Agency, Animation, an Exhibition as Case Study
Adam Brown, “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” 2012. a) View of alchemical installation. b) View of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5134944&req=5

f3-jmbe-17-409: Adam Brown, “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” 2012. a) View of alchemical installation. b) View of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope.
Mentions: Adam Brown’s piece brings laboratory equipment into the gallery in order to replicate early modern chemistry. His work catalyzes marine bacteria to create a natural element and thus exemplifies the limit biology of marine extremophiles. Brown’s “The Great Work of the Metal Lover” is an alchemical machine hosting the metallotolerant extremophilic bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans that, under the engineered atmosphere created in the gallery, produces gold. The installation has three components: 1) the machinery, which is a glass alchemical bioreactor, a gas manifold, and a gas tank filled with carbon dioxide and hydrogen; 2) a series of images with gold made using a scanning electron microscope; and 3) a small specimen of gold from the bioreactor in a small display case mounted on the wall (Fig. 3). The extreme minimal ecosystem within the bioreactor forces the bacteria to metabolize high concentrations of gold chloride, turning soluble gold into usable 24K gold.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Recent events in the field of biology have further unfixed the definition of life. The negotiability of “life” is at the center of the exhibition “Wetware: Art, Agency, Animation” at the Beall Center for Art + Technology at the University of California, Irvine. The exhibition includes art by nine international artists working in the avant-garde area of contemporary art called “bioart.” This article is devoted to the unique educational space opened through the practice of bioart, focusing on how the exhibition brings the scientific question “What is life?” to a public audience. Bildung, a term that translates as education but encompasses exploration and growth, is based on the holistic unity of science and art and is used here to show that neither science nor art sacrifices legitimacy or distinction within bioart. Art can suggest design and be useful; science can point to abstraction and be poetic. Bioart inspires a chain of curiosity about the form, materials, media that artists use to probe, shape, direct, and display scientific processes and concepts.

No MeSH data available.