[-empyre-] CAA between Biology and Art

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Sun Feb 19 13:58:27 AEDT 2017

Thanks Kathy and Lindsay for carrying on without me over the past two days.  I wanted to let you all know that we are being joined by a few new subscribers that I met at College Art Association panel that I hope will be inspired to post.  

Yesterday the Gibson New Media Round Table  was full with with many pioneer artists and emerging artists who work between and through Biology and Art in excitedly broad and interdisciplinary ways.  Our panel featured art historian Maria Fernandez who juxtaposed post-feminism and new materialisms in some brand new research that she has been working on.  Her presentation highlighted the work of Sonja Baumel and  Karolina Sobecka.  Natalie Jeremijenko brought her Environmental Health Clinic to CAA.  Making a case to all of us that we need as artists to not just make but MAKE IT BETTER.  Mutualism was her mantra as she highlighted a selection of her current projects all dubbed with semantic puns as Natalie so brilliantly and passionately does.   Byron Rich and Mary Maggic Tsang:  Open Source Estrogen introduced their project Open Source Estrogen which combines do-it-yourself science, body and gender bending politics with ecological ramifications. The project is an ironic but humorous assemblage of biotechnical civil disobedience reacting to the slow violence of corporate and institutional pollution and regulation. Finally, Paul Vanouse presented a selection of his work and ended with his America Project.  In the project Vanouse isolates DNA from the combined spit of visitors using it as raw material to create images with gel electrophoresis, a process by which an electric current pulls DNA fragments across a porous gel at differing rates depending on each fragment’s size.I conic images such as the American Flag result from the DNA.  Vanouse also talked about his new lab  Coalesce the new University of Buffalo. The Biolab houses a teaching program, research labs,  and artist’s residencies.  Thank you to all of you for spending time with us. 

At the heart of the session laughter, humor and irony filled the room but also an urgent understanding that as artists must practice tactics of resistance against current shifts that have eliminated protections against our water, air and environment.  The consensus within the room was that in this particular political time that political, social, ecological resistance must manifest itself especially for the our survival.  In light of the political urgency issues of ethics also loomed. 

It was a delight to feel the energy of all things Biology and Art and my sense is that the short discussion that followed could have gone on for quite some time.  My own work spins around ecological issues but I am not a dedicated “bioartist” right now.  However I was honored that the New Media Caucus invited me to host and organize this panel Hoping that all of you out there will not be afraid to make a post to extend our discussion Between Biology and Art.

Good Night Kathy and Good Morning Lindsay.  Hoping to talk more tomorrow now that I am back online a bit more reliably. 

Renate Ferro
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Art
Tjaden Hall 306
rferro at cornell.edu

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