[ISEA2011] Panel: Marie-Pier Boucher & Jen­nifer Wil­let (moderators) – BioARTCAMP: Laboratory Ecologies in the Wild West

Panel Statement

Chair Per­sons: Marie-Pier Boucher & Jen­nifer Wil­let
Pre­sen­ters: Tagny Duff & Paul Vanouse

Biotech­nol­ogy forces a restag­ing of the ecol­ogy of our re­la­tions with other species: with biotech­nol­ogy we are now able to breed, to birth, gen­er­a­tional life forms that serve as tools, sub­jects and em­bod­ied tech­nolo­gies that in turn in­ter­act with and alter our bod­ies, and the planet’s ecol­ogy. This panel will pro­pose al­ter­na­tive mod­els (artis­tic and the­o­ret­i­cal) to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal metaphors in de­scrib­ing biotech­no­log­i­cal pro­to­cols. Draw­ing upon the trans­for­ma­tive power of bioart in cre­at­ing new con­cep­tual and prac­ti­cal tools found in bi­o­log­i­cal ma­te­ri­al­ity, our dis­cus­sion will re­volve around a large col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­ject called BioART­CAMP. BioART­CAMP is best de­scribed as a bioart camp­ing ex­pe­di­tion in the Cana­dian Rocky Moun­tains where the Rock­ies will serve as a dra­matic in­car­na­tion of an ex­ter­nal ecol­ogy for six artists, two sci­en­tists and two the­o­rists to build a work­ing biotech lab­o­ra­tory as part of a du­ra­tional per­for­mance.

Bioart in­trin­si­cally in­vites us to en­gage the com­plex­i­ties of the ma­nip­u­la­tion of life to­wards human ends by forc­ing us to con­sider the moral and eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions that the artist (and viewer) must as­cribe to the ma­te­ri­al­ity of the work. In the form of a de­brief­ing after a bioart camp­ing trip, our dis­cus­sion will focus on the per­for­ma­tive re­la­tion­ships bi­o­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries pos­sess with ex­ter­nal ecolo­gies. These per­for­ma­tive re­la­tions, we will show, amount to the con­sid­er­a­tion of biotech­no­log­i­cally shaped en­vi­ron­ments in terms of con­nec­tions be­tween mi­lieus of in­te­ri­or­ity and mi­lieus of ex­te­ri­or­ity, in terms of topo­log­i­cal con­nec­tions; biotopolo­gies. We will in­ves­ti­gate (1) how biotopo­log­i­cal prac­tices af­fects liv­ing’s spa­tial con­di­tions; (2) how the pro­duc­tion and ma­nip­u­la­tion of liv­ing or­gan­isms (Biodegrad­able In­cu­ba­tor, An­i­mal En­rich­ment, Deep Woods PCR (Poly­merase Chain Re­ac­tion)) in open ecolo­gies af­fect the evo­lu­tion of biotech­nolo­gies and their di­rect links with larger eco­log­i­cal con­cerns and; (3) how these in­ter­ven­tions re­con­fig­ure our modes of un­der­stand­ing bi­o­log­i­cal ma­te­ri­al­ity. In brief, our panel will draw upon a sci­ence/art col­lab­o­ra­tion in order to dis­cuss biotech­nolo­gies’ spa­tial, eco­log­i­cal, ma­te­r­ial and eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions.

Our panel will draw upon a sci­ence/art col­lab­o­ra­tion in order to dis­cuss biotech­nolo­gies’ spa­tial, eco­log­i­cal, ma­te­r­ial and eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions. incubatorartlab.com/home/projects/bioartcamp

  • The BioART­CAMP is hosted by Jen­nifer Wil­let from IN­CU­BA­TOR: Hy­brid Lab­o­ra­tory at the In­ter­sec­tion of Art, Sci­ence and Ecol­ogy at The Uni­ver­sity of Wind­sor Canada and The Banff Cen­tre, Canada.
  • Marie-Pier Boucher is a PhD stu­dent in the de­part­ment of Art, Art His­tory and Vi­sual Stud­ies at Duke Uni­ver­sity. Her work draws upon prag­ma­tism, com­plex sys­tems the­ory, and bio- and neu­ro­sciences in ad­dress­ing ar­chi­tec­tural and spa­tial prac­tices. She col­lab­o­rates as a the­o­rist and co-ed­i­tor on Adap­tive Ac­tions (Madrid Abierto, Spain, 2010 and Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Canada, 2010) as well as on BioART­CAMP (Banff Cen­tre for the Arts, 2011). She serves on the ed­i­to­r­ial com­mit­tee of In­fleX­ions, an open-ac­cess jour­nal for re­search-cre­ation. Her re­search res­i­den­cies in­clude: Max Planck In­sti­tute for the His­tory of Sci­ence, Berlin, Ger­many (2010) and Sym­bi­ot­icA, Cen­ter for Ex­cel­lence in Bi­o­log­i­cal Arts, Uni­ver­sity of West­ern Aus­tralia, Perth (2006).