Archive for the Week 4 Category

Biotech

Posted in Week 4 on December 14, 2007 by abradbury

I understand that often harmful testing can lead to results that help many. For the greater good, even if it means harming some. Some valuable medical information even came for the torture tests performed during the holocaust, and animal testing can often lead to helpful discoveries. I also believe that art simply for the sake of art is a necessary entity in our world, that the strictly logical people of our society need to just accept it and leave it alone. And maybe I have stronger violent tendancies than others and feel more of a connection to animals than others. But hearing a man talk about his neon green bunny that may have lived from two to ten years made me want to jump out of my seat and bash his face into the floor while screaming “it’s for the sake of art!”

That’s all I have to say on the subject.

The TA’s give their rendition

Posted in Week 4 on December 4, 2007 by ava3

Each TA has a complete introspective and innovative idea. I was surprised to discover that John completely focussed on science, yet later in his studies cultivated an artistic quality to his science. This is one personal example expressing my idea of how sciences craves creativity and artistry, and visa versa. Gil’s music style requires mathematics and schematics to create a structure within the vertility and expressiveness of his art.Having studied about medical science, I am very familiar with MRI machines and their capability. However, I have never sought to think of the images created by the machine as art. But when thought of, different parts of the brain expressing memories, learning, etc. can create and image of wonder, of light. There will be a passion from the art, but a meaning behind the science. Within the same context idea, Gil’s music breaks the bounds of not being free and scattered, but requiring a study and exact measurement, as would be used in a science.So I pose this ultimate and continuing question, hoping it should already be resolved : Is there a need for the third culture, or are we merely too blinded to see that science and art already coexist.

Biotechnology – Simone Chen

Posted in Week 4 on October 29, 2007 by simonechen

After listening to guest lecturer, Edward Shanken’s presentation on genetic engineering, I have to say that I definitely learned a lot about glowing rabbits, or more specifically, one glowing rabbit (Alba). It reminded me just how controversial biotechnology (genetic engineering) was.

We have issues with animal rights, with morality, with the right to ‘tamper with life’.  But scientists still continue with their research despite all the complaints and criticisms they receive from pro-animal-rights, pro-organic, pro-et cetera personnel. Why? Well not only to be creative, but “for the good of humanity”.

Ever since we were able to clone Dolly in the late 1990s, scientists became ever more persistent in wanting to “play god” (don’t get me wrong, I am fascinated by the feats that scientists manage to accomplish). Nowadays not only do we have cloning to aid us in our research, we also have genetically modified bacteria (especially to help produce insulin for diabetics) and crops, stem cell research, and “pharm” animals!

My focus today (which should have been my focus last week) is on “pharm animals”. Why? Simply because they’re such fascinating creatures. They are what they are (ie. Sheep are sheep), but are also different in some way unidentifiable by the naked eye.

Look at the following picture for instance:

 

Other than the BioSteel (spider silk derived from goat milk) seen in class, scientists have managed to insert a whole variety of genes into different animals; some to enhance animal growth, others to create substances for us that are otherwise harder to procure, and still others to discover cures for various diseases. I can see why the former would raise concerns amongst consumers because we never really know if GM crops or meat are 100 percent safe. (The “gene modifying harms animals” argument is really just to build upon the fact that we don’t want ‘unnatural’ foods out of fear of side effects). But the latter two can really help a lot of people, given that they are effective. Take the following news for instance:

“Imagine an inexpensive cancer drug that fights the disease better than other drugs because it uses antibodies tailor-made for each specific tissue to kill the cancer cells. Origen Therapeutics’ new method involves genetically modifying embryonic chicken stem cells with human DNA and implanting the stem cells in chicken embryos. They carefully rear those embryos into mature chickens that will ultimately lay eggs containing customized human monoclonal antibodies, antibodies that could be easily (and inexpensively) collected and injected into human patients. Up until now, scientists have tried to create similar antibodies using mice or hamsters. But it was very slow and very expensive. This new way promises to be faster and cheaper.”

If the above method really worked then cancer-patients will no longer need to go through the grueling process of chemotherapy and take various medication throughout their life. Cures for other diseases could be found through similar methods, and many of the illnesses labeled as “chronic diseases” will no longer be chronic.

Then as a next step, instead of needing to take medication we could genetically modify foods to contain various substances that would boost our immune system. Thus allowing us to say goodbye to medicine and hello to “good” food!

Reference:

http://www.acfnewsource.org/science/pharm_animals.html

Science and Art, where to draw the line

Posted in Week 4 on October 29, 2007 by danaharris1

This week we got even more into Science and Art and their connections. I think that it is really important to recognize the fact that so many of the creations we see in science can be considered a type of art; after all, the scientists to a certain extent, go through some of the same processes artists do when developing their creations. I think that often times it is hard for scientists to admit this, just as it is hard– maybe even harder– for artists to see the similar process. Because, after all, for some it may be difficult to call scientists creative, just as it is may be difficult for some to call artists inventors.  I know that a lot of people thought the guest lecture on tensegrity stirred up a lot of controversy as to what actually “is art.” And, the fact remains that we’re never going to get a clear answer. Whether or not you want to call a glowing bunny art, it is still a creation, and still deserves to be recognized, maybe not praised, but recognized…. maybe no as art, but as a creation… which, all art is. If scientists are doing new things like this, and science is merging with art more and more, why not try to appease both sides of the spectrum… even if its not GOOD art, it deserves to be acknowledged, especially because things like this will ultimately help form the bridge between the science world, and the art world.

What makes art, Art?

Posted in Week 4 on October 29, 2007 by chrisbrackert

The classic question: What makes something a piece of art?  Is it art because it is in a museum?  Is it art because the creator has said so?  Is it art because someone, somewhere, has said it is so?  No one needs to tell me that da Vinci’s, “The Last Supper,” or Michelangelo’s, “David,” are pieces of amazing paintings.  In fact, some may go as far as to say that Renaissance pieces like these epitomize art.  But it seems as thought there has been a shift in the definition of ‘art’ over the past hundreds of years.  It is now acceptable for so-called artists to come up with some crazy theory or idea, construct it in some ‘original’ way, display it to the pubic and call it art. 

A green bunny… Really?  Sure.  Good job to the scientists.  You’ve successfully made your first significant step towards playing God.  But please don’t call this art.  There are already enough people out there pushing the limits of our art definition as it is.  I am typically not even a critical judge about art.  If someone wants to draw different colored random lines on a page and tell me it represents life in its entirety, then that is perfectly fine.  I will even be the first one to argue against the person who says, “Even a kid could create that.”  “Well, a kid didn’t create that and nor did you.  Actually, come to think of it; no one has ever done that before.  It has taken a creative mind to construct something completely and utterly original.  Weather it is by chance techniques, mathematically calculated, or composed by that old fashioned thing called imagination; I am impressed.”

So, again, why is it that I am not impressed a single bit by the green bunny?  Let me rephrase that: “Why is it that I am not impressed a single bit by the green bunny as art?”  The truthful answer is still, “I don’t know.”  But I’m working on one, and as of now I believe it is because I still think there should be a boundary between art and science.  I don’t want the artists ‘dumbing down’ a wonderful scientific breakthrough.  “Hey North Campus!  Stop claiming our achievements for your own.  You don’t see us putting scientific things in museums.”  Oh wait, yes you do.  Normally these are confined to science museums, but sometimes they do break through into a regular exhibit.  “I’m sorry.”  I am also sorry for basically getting no where with this blog, but most of the time, that is what happens when the definition of art is debated.

The nature of art and the ethics of transgenic “art” – Daniel Waltrip

Posted in Week 4 on October 29, 2007 by dwaltrip77

The guest lecture on transgenic art opened up a very important discussion regarding art. While many people opposed the nature of lecture (transgenic art, or more specifically a genetically altered bunny that glowed green when placed under certain light) as not morally correct or cruel, and also questioned the validity of the claim that GFP bunny is art, the forthcoming question, “what is art?”, is something that we need to analyze.

Merriam-webster.com defines art as the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. Other sources report a similar interpretation. Any creation that is made with human skill and creative ability is art. Thus, the scientists used their skills and knowledge to genetically alter Alba, creatively producing a bunny that can glow green. The vagueness and ambiguities that such interpretations leave are huge. Art can become whatever one chooses. This is not to say there are stereotypical ideas surrounding the concept of art, and which describe the majority of works that people deem as art. However, it makes the debate over whether a person’s creative pursuits or works are art rather trivial. Art is simply the creative expression of a person’s passions, thoughts, or ideas. This is evident in transgenic art, which is a rather untraditional form of art. We have seen other examples of such untraditional art in this class as well, with kinetic art, fractal art, and many of the other science-art projects that we studied.

Another issue related to GFP Bunny that sparked my interest was that ethics of such an endeavor. Many students were quite offended by this “work of art”, saying what would happen if we began performing riskier experiments or creating such works with humans. Personally, I view this debate from a more scientific perspective. The purpose of Alba was to provoke discussion about uncharted, bio-technological nature of the work which, while related to art, seems to be more relevant in the scientific realm. Pushing the boundaries on transgenic research might uncover magnificent scientific discoveries, as opposed to allowing for new, fancy art. This seems much more interesting to me, but I am slightly biased towards the science/math fields (south campus geek alert!). Experiments of equal or even far worse cruelty are performed very often, so I can’t even see the source for such outrage against GFP bunny. As long as proper precautions are made, and (obviously) we don’t allow for transgenic experimentation with humans, I don’t think there is that much to worry about in the near future.

 As proof of how useful (and coo) transgenic research can and most definitely will prove to be, here is an article on a yeast crossed with mice that might be able to sniff out explosives: http://technology.newscientist.com/channel/tech/mg19426036.000-genetically-modified-yeast–can-sniff-out-explosives.html 

Week 4-Is Biotecnology Art?-Frank Nicholas

Posted in Uncategorized, Week 4 on October 28, 2007 by franknicholas

The guest speaker on Wednesday really got me thinking about what art is and what is considered art. Befor I had thought that art was just what you cold go to a museum and look at,   or something that you would make in an art class.  But this class and especially this last week of lecture has made me really think about what art is.  Lets start off with I have come to the conclusion that just about anything can be art.  So after what I already I knew was art it sort of when like this: Architecture is art, the final product is a piece of art, and then movies are art, I don’t know why but I never thought of them as art, music, manufacturing is an art, for example I shave a skittle bag here. If some one were to paint the bag, or to produce one and put it up as art then it would be art, well I don’t really know where I am going with this but I hope its making some sense. 

So about the green bunny, because this was the main topic on Thursday, I could see how it is considered art. Let’s go to the sculpture garden.  The statue with the one pole up and then there are two connected to the top and they move and such.  That is definitely art, it’s a sculpture, and I think we all could agree with that.  What went into making that structure is probably about f pieces, three metal pole things, and nut and a bolt.  but when they are assembled like that and when the artists decided to construct them like that is what made it art.  and the green bunny was just a few materials places  together in a strategic way that the artist, or the scientist, or whoever took out of whatever thing glows green, and takes only the piece that he wants, and then placing it in something else, and because of that makes this new thing, and bunny that glows.  I think that has to be same as other art forms.  And the picture of the bunny can definitely be considered art, but that’s not really what they were talking about though, and I don’t know what they altered the picture.  Any ways, I think that it can be art, but I can still see why people think its not. And about the urinal that the was put in a art show.  I think that can definitely be considered art.  The artist found this urinal, picked out the one he wanted and presented it as art.  I have seen art that is just a log, or a stick that looks like something.  These artists found the stick and picked that specific one because he saw something in it, and pit it on display.  I think it’s the same sort of thing.  Well this is due. So that’s all.