[ISEA2008] Paper: Annette Barbier – Representation, Visualization, Art and Science


As basic science advances and new technologies become available, artists grapple with their meaning and impact.
Some of these are:

  1. We are in the midst of a movement from virtual to embodied
  2. We are trying to understand the present using the paradigms of the past
  3. We live with an increasing mediation of the senses
  4. With enhanced knowledge of matter at the smallest scale, we can see that some patterns are universal
  5. Context and intention change our understanding of images
  6. To whom will technological advances belong?

Virtual to embodied                                                                                                                                 One issue facing us is that of simulation vs. embodiment. The past decade was centrally involved with creating experiences that resemble reality, or that create a new (virtual) reality. The present decade’s concerns have shifted to manipulating reality itself and to understanding the impact that our powerful technologies and scientific advances have on the real world.

Eduardo Kac’s fluorescent rabbit “Alba” is a wellknown example of commenting on genetic engineering by engaging in it rather than representing it. Created in 2000, GFP Bunny “comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit, the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. GFP stands for green fluorescent protein. Transgenic art …is a new art form based on the use of genetic engineering to transfer natural or synthetic genes to an organism, to create unique living beings.”

I would compare the work by Kac to The “Judgment” series by Daniel Lee.” Although the work wasn’t created with genetic manipulation in mind, it has been included in group shows like “Gene(sis)” (organized by the Henry Art Gallery in 1997) along with work that is clearly genomic because of the powerful and disturbing references to the combination of human and animal characteristics.

  • Annette Barbier (USA) Columbia College Chicago

Full text (PDF) p. 52-54