Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Unit 6: BioTech + Art

This week’s lecture brought a rather controversial subject to the surface—animal experimentation. I learned that not only are animals confined to a life of manipulation in the name of science but also in the name of art. Scientists and artists both experiment with animals to further knowledge of how DNA and other biological concepts operate and affect organisms and as a way to express personal perspective of what human creativity is.
Both Joe Davis and Eduaro Katz used advanced scientific knowledge to experiment on animals with claims of artistry. While Joe Davis’s experiments seemed to have a tinge of desire to further human knowledge, Katz’s experiment was seen as “interesting but silly” (Lecture 1). Artists are continuing to have a growing interest in scientific matters that can somehow portray a piece of art, as seen in the growing Symbiotica group of 2000 (Lecture 2). However, because artists are strictly using these methods to bring them to fame in the art community is unethical.
If you're more interested about this topic, I recommend reading this article.
I feel that although scientists have reasons for subjecting animals to horrific environments—to further the world’s knowledge about humans and other living organisms, and potentially save human lives— both scientists and artists should be heavily limited to the treatments they are able to subject animals to. Although this may be seen as human creativity, I think there should be more restrictions for how humans can treat other animals. I feel that human creativity should be reduced to testing only those who are willing to participate in the potentially dangerous experiments.
Two perfect examples of ethical science and artistry can be seen through Kathy High (Lecture 3) and Orlan (Lecture 4). Kathy High studies the human immune system using white blood cells implanted in a petri dish. Rather that subjecting animal cells, she uses actual human cells to study the behavior of the human immune system (Kathy High Website). Orlan uses her own body as her medium of art and to further interest in the art of the human body. She does not subject animals to life-altering surgeries or experimentation for her own artwork. She is the only medium involved in her self-expression of art, and she clearly is willing to go through with these surgical experiments. It is selfish and unethical to abuse animals for one’s personal desire to express artwork or human knowledge. If a scientist or artist wants to embrace human creativity, it should be done using willing participants rather than those with no voice.

"Kathy High: Visual/media Artist, Independent Curator, Educator." Kathy High: Projects. Web. 04 May 2016. <>.

Uconlineprogram. "5 Bioart Pt1 1280x720." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 04 May 2016. <>.

Uconlineprogram. "5 BioArt Pt2." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 04 May 2016. <>.

Uconlineprogram. "5 BioArt Pt3." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 04 May 2016. <>.

Uconlineprogram. "5 BioArt Pt4." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 04 May 2016. <>.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you brought up instances of artists who use more ethical means of scientific experimentation. As demonstrated in your blog, sometimes within the science community ethics get pushed aside for the sake of new discovery. It was cool to see two examples of scientists who found a way to experiment without having to harm an animal in the process.