Art and Genetics

Abstract

A growing group of artists is addressing controversial developments in genetics and genomic research. Many of these artists represent social, political or ethical implications of this research in a broad variety of art forms.

Keywords: GFP bunny; DNA graphy; microvenus; supercode; silent code

Figure 1.

Microvenus symbol.

Figure 2.

Microvenus symbol, coded into a 35‐bit binary sequence and arranged into a 7‐bit by 5‐bit array that graphically maps into the shape of the icon.

Figure 3.

Delbrück code. Max Delbrück used these codon‐to‐alphabetical assignments to encode the sentence, I am the riddle of life know me and you will know yourself.

Figure 4.

DNA supercode.

Figure 5.

Amino acid and silent codes.

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References

Andrews L (2000) Art – weird science. Chicago Magazine 92(6): 22–24.

Annick B (2002) Biological Art: Retrospective/Gallery. Art Press 276: 44–50. Paris, France.

Davis J (1996) Microvenus. Art Journal 55(1): 70–74.

Davis J (2000) Romance, supercodes and the Milky Way DNA. In: Stocker G and Schopf C (eds.) Ars Electronica 2000 Catalog: Next Sex, pp. 217–235. Vienna, Austria: Springer‐Verlag.

Gedrim RJ (1993) Edward Steichen's 1936 exhibition of delphinium blooms. History of Photography 17: 352–363.

Gessert G (1999) On exhibiting hybrids. Circa 90(Art and Technology Supplement): s08–s09.

Kac E (1999). Genesis. In: Stocker G and Schopf C (eds.) Ars Electronica 1999 – Life Science, pp. 310–313. Vienna/New York, NY: Springer.

Kac E (2001) Bio art: proteins, transgenics, and biobots/Biokunst: proteine, transgenik und bioboter. In: Stocker G and Schopf S (eds.) Ars Electronica 2001 Catalog: TAKEOVER – Who's Doing the Art of Tomorrow?/Wer macht die Kunst von morgen? pp. 118–124. Vienna, Austria: Springer‐Verlag.

Kemp M (2000) Science in culture. Nature 403: 364.

Nadis S (1995) Genetic art builds cryptic bridge between two cultures. Nature 378: 229.

Nadis S (2000) Science for arts sake. Nature 407: 668–670.

Queiroz IP (2002) A Biologia Ao Servico Da Arte. A Capital 19 May 2002. Lisbon, Portugal.

Travis J (2000) Genes on display: DNA becomes part of the artist's palette. Science News 158: 392–394.

Wayt Gibbs W (2001) Art as a form of life. Scientific American April 2001; pp. 37–39.

Youngs AM (2000) Fine art of creating life. Leonardo 33: 377–380.

Further Reading

Art and the Genetic Code (1996) Art Journal 55(1). [This whole issue was devoted to ‘Art and the Genetic Code’, representing an early example of an art journal addressing issues of art and genetics.]

Beadle GW and Beadle M (1966) The Language of Life: An Introduction to the Science of Genetics. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Burnham J (1968) Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of this Century, 1st edn. New York, NY: George Braziller.

Fischer EP and Lipson C (1988) Thinking about Science: Max Delbrück and the Origins of Molecular Biology. New York, NY: Norton.

Pollan M (2001) The Botany of Desire: A Plant's‐eye View of the World. New York, NY: Random House.

Web Links

Ars Electronica. Ars Electronica Festivals 1999–2000 featuring the works of Kac (1999) and Davis (2000) http://www.aec.at

Burpee Seed Grow. Delphiniums Steichen Strain. Edward Steichen's mutagenized delphiniums are still sold as ‘Steichen Strain’ delphiniums http://www.burpee.com/shopping/search/searchresultsmain.jsp?catID=159&page=1&productID=376

Eduardo Kac. A description of all of Eduardo Kac's artworks is included in this website http://www.ekac.org/

Gene(sis): Contempory Art Explores Human Genomics. Homepage of the exhibition Gene(sis): Contemporary Art explores Humans Genomics http://www.gene‐sis.net/home.html

Microvenus. Davis' original manuscript on the Microvenus project can be downloaded here http://sugarmegs.org/joedavis.doc

On Exhibiting Hybrids. George Gessert's webpage http://indigo.ie/∼circa/c90/supple/8.html

Paradise Now. Homepage of the exhibition Paradise Now including links to information about the work of Dan Harvey, Heather Acroyd, Natalie Jeremijenko, others http://www.geneart.org/pn‐home.htm

Paradise Now Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey http://www.geneart.org/ackroyd2.htm

The SmArt Gene or Are We Not Alone in the Aesthetic Universe? Wieczorek's critical essay on genetic art http://www.gene‐sis.net/essays/wieczorek_essay.pdf

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How to Cite close
Davis, Joe, Boyd, Dana, O'Reilly, Hunter, and Wieczorek, Marek(Sep 2006) Art and Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005868]