genetic “art” and natural systems-Tiffany Leung

I think Mr. Shanken’s guest lecture this past week was presented in a very unappealing manner. The way he read through his slides off of his notes made it difficult for me to give my full attention to this quasi controversial topic at hand- the GFP bunny. I really have to agree with my classmates in saying that this GFP bunny is not at all a conventional art piece and the reasons that Mr. Shanken exhibited as to why the bunny should be considered a good work of art were not very convincing. Although presenting the GFP bunny as art does make me question what my criteria for art is, to me, the actual bunny does not really represent a piece of art because I don’t think genetic recombinations and processing should be done purely for the purpose of art. I think that manipulating DNA and genes on animals should be done for scientific reasons that acquire further knowledge about mammals. Also, a part of me feels like if experiments, such as the one done with the GFP bunny, are done more frequently and perhaps to different types of animals in the interest of art , then more and more moral and ethical concerns revolving the health and treatment of animals will definitely arise and cause activists on both ends to have unnecessary mice

This article by Dale Hoyt discusses some of the objections to Edwardo Kac’s “art” work

I’d like to relate this topic to the lecture on Biosteel and the integration of genetic material of spiders and goats. The two examples show similar methods of getting a result, but their goals contrast because while the GFP bunny was created in the interest of art, Biosteel creates a product that can actually be used and contributes to several areas of science and technology. The use of Biosteel is a good example of how manipulating several types of DNA would provide a good product.

The next topic that caught my interest was the use of bio networks and natural systems in modern architecture and the idea of Biomimicry. In a very modern age, bringing our buildings, living spaces and cultures back to the roots of nature seems like a very natural way to move. When i was a kid and thought about the future, life seemed like it would be space-age and out of this world, but as we begin to move toward that future that we all imagined, our world is shifting forward while integrating the ideas of this world and the beauty of natural systems. While searching for more online about Biomimicry, I found a number of companies that are devoted to this method of innovation ranging from architecture firms to services that “help companies and communities find, vet, understand and emulate life’s time-tested strategies.” This just shows the advancing state of this idea and how much it will be affecting our looming future.


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