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Monday, October 3, 2011

Treading over old trends

I was cruising though some of my archived articles on art and science when I came across this review called DNART by Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker of Oct 2, 2000. Schjeldahl spoke of a show called PARADISE NOW: Picturing the Genetic Revolution at the Exit Art Gallery in New York.

In this show, most artists took the bits of information about DNA and how it can be manipulated and made conceptual art. "The artworks addressed a number of major issues, including: Race – the implications of genetic research confirming that humans of all races are 99.9 percent genetically the same; Economics – ownership of genes and whether they should be patented and sold to the highest bidder; Reproduction – germ-line gene therapy and how it could be used to design babies and/or improve the health of human beings before they are born; privacy – DNA identification and who has access to the information; Health – how gene therapy and new technologies will be used to prevent and treat disease; Food Safety – risks and benefits of genetically engineered food crops and animals."

But what struck me was the statement by Schjedahl, "Art used to crown civilization. Now it skitters through seams and around corners, eagerly parasitic." He does not doubt that the work is art, but questions if this is the highest possible place for artists to put their energies.

That is why in the DNA of Creativity we are urging artist and scientist to come together at the very beginning of the process of collaboration. Art is not to use science or vice versa, but this should be a mutually interactive process of creativity. Yes, we are setting the bar high and are looking with great anticipation for the results of this multiple effort.

If you have not yet taken the DNA of Creativity survey, please do so soon.

Post by Patricia Frischer, coordinator of SDVAN

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