From Martian Roses to Hairy Cacti

I’m auditing an art class this semester called Biological and Genetic Art. It’s a fascinating topic about using living organisms to create artwork. One of the interesting things about the field is that all the artists have different definitions. Some think artificial life should count, since it’s a man-made form of life. Others think the topic should be strictly for those using biologically alive organisms to create a statement. This tends to be the most controversial to the public. Still others think that anything meant to make the viewer think of genetic manipulation or life can be considered Bioart.

Since I am auditing the class, I do not officially have to turn in assignments. Auditing allows me to sit in and interact in a class without getting credit for the class. It’s ideal for situations where you many not be able to take any more credits that semester, or if you’re simply interested in a topic because it sounds neat. However, I’ve found that completing the assignments is really helpful in learning the material.

For one of our assignments, we had to research a Bioartist and present some projects they did. I chose Laura Cinti. Laura is one of the artists who uses living things in her artwork. One of the pieces she did was called the Cactus Project, and involved manipulating a cacti to grow human hair instead of spikes. The reason behind this was that most genetically engineered animals and plants were sterile, so they could not reproduce. She felt that hair was a sign of sexual reproduction, and could be combined with the cactus to show that although it showed signs of fertility, it was ultimately sterile.

Some of her others works included exposing a rose to the atmosphere of Mars and making E.Coli smell like bananas. Her work is interesting, although a little crazy.

Other than that, it’s the second week of classes. Homework is still slow, but it won’t be in the next week or so.