Filed under book | Tags: · bio art, bioethics, biopolitics, biotechnology, ethics
Bioethical dilemmas—including those over genetic screening, compulsory vaccination, and abortion—have been the subject of ongoing debates in the media, among the public, and in professional and academic communities. But the paramount bioethical issue in an age of digital technology and new media, Joanna Zylinska argues, is the transformation of the very notion of life. In this provocative book, Zylinska examines many of the ethical challenges that technology poses to the allegedly sacrosanct idea of the human. In doing so, she goes beyond the traditional understanding of bioethics as a matter for moral philosophy and medicine to propose a new “ethics of life” rooted in the relationship between the human and the nonhuman (both animals and machines) that new technology prompts us to develop.
After a detailed discussion of the classical theoretical perspectives on bioethics, Zylinska describes three cases of “bioethics in action,” through which the concepts of “the human,” “animal,” and “life” are being redefined: the reconfiguration of bodily identity by plastic surgery in a TV makeover show; the reduction of the body to two-dimensional genetic code; and the use of biological material in such examples of “bioart” as Eduardo Kac’s infamous fluorescent green bunny.
Zylinska addresses ethics from the interdisciplinary perspective of media and cultural studies, drawing on the writings of thinkers from Agamben and Foucault to Haraway and Hayles. Taking theoretical inspiration in particular from the philosophy of alterity as developed by Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, and Bernard Stiegler, Zylinska makes the case for a new nonsystemic, nonhierarchical bioethics that encompasses the kinship of humans, animals, and machines.
Published by MIT Press, 2009
ISBN 0262240564, 9780262240567
Key terms: bioethics, biopolitical, Stelarc, Homo Sacer, bioart, Jacques Derrida, Bernard Stiegler, Giorgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, cybernetics, Peter Singer, ethics, Michel Foucault, Eugene Thacker, Cyborgs, moral panics, biopower, biotechnology, Cultural Studies
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Beatriz da Costa, Kavita Philip (eds.): Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience (2008)
Filed under book | Tags: · activism, art, bio art, biopolitics, genetics
“Popular culture in this “biological century” seems to feed on proliferating fears, anxieties, and hopes around the life sciences at a time when such basic concepts as scientific truth, race and gender identity, and the human itself are destabilized in the public eye. Tactical Biopolitics suggests that the political challenges at the intersection of life, science, and art are best addressed through a combination of artistic intervention, critical theorizing, and reflective practices. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, contributions to this volume focus on the political significance of recent advances in the biological sciences and explore the possibility of public participation in scientific discourse, drawing on research and practice in art, biology, critical theory, anthropology, and cultural studies.
After framing the subject in terms of both biology and art, Tactical Biopolitics discusses such topics as race and genetics (with contributions from leading biologists Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins); feminist bioscience; the politics of scientific expertise; bioart and the public sphere (with an essay by artist Claire Pentecost); activism and public health (with an essay by Treatment Action Group co-founder Mark Harrington); biosecurity after 9/11 (with essays by artists’ collective Critical Art Ensemble and anthropologist Paul Rabinow); and human-animal interaction (with a framing essay by cultural theorist Donna Haraway).”
Publisher MIT Press, 2008
ISBN 0262042495, 9780262042499
Review: Alessandro Ludovico (Neural).Comment (0)
Filed under book | Tags: · art, art history, bio art, biology, biotechnology, evolution, genetics
Bio art is a new art form that has emerged from the cultural impact and increasing accessibility of contemporary biotechnology. Signs of Life is the first book to focus exclusively on art that uses biotechnology as its medium, defining and discussing the theoretical and historical implications of bio art and offering examples of work by prominent artists.
Bio art manipulates the processes of life; in its most radical form, it invents or transforms living organisms. It is not representational; bio art is in vivo. (A celebrated example is Eduardo Kac’s own GFP Bunny, centered on “Alba,” the transgenic fluorescent green rabbit.) The creations of bio art become a part of evolution and, provided they are capable of reproduction, can last as long as life exists on earth. Thus, bio art raises unprecedented questions about the future of life, evolution, society, and art.
The contributors to Signs of Life articulate the critical theory of bio art and document its fundamental works. The writers—who include such prominent scholars as Barbara Stafford, Eugene Thacker, and Dorothy Nelkin—consider the culture and aesthetics of biotechnology, the ethical and philosophical aspects of bio art, and biology in art history. The section devoted to artworks and artists includes George Gessert’s Why I Breed Plants, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr’s Semi-Living Art, Marc Quinn’s Genomic Portrait, and Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey’s Chlorophyll.
Published by MIT Press, 2007
Leonardo Books series
ISBN 0262112930, 9780262112932
PDF (updated on 2012-7-30)Comment (0)