In order for new biotechnologies to be accepted by and integrated within society such technologies must be socially responsible. One of the means to achieve cultural understanding and acceptance of such practices is via the mediation of the medium of art. However, contemporary art, which responds to developments in biotechnologies, may possess an inherent inability to substantially affect such understanding if it is perceived as being merely illustrative of new developments in life sciences. Within such a scenario art assumes a subservient position to the culture of science. This kind of expression whereby art merely “mirrors” life, understates the value art can have as a transformative medium. A new form of transformative art is developing which can be seen as a permeable medium of exchange between the two cultures art and science. This paper discusses a new form of art-based media. This new form of art known as bio art is one which embraces biotechnologies as new art processes and involves the use of living material as new art media. To appreciate the osmotic non-hierarchical nature and reciprocal value of this interchange between art and science for society, it is necessary to consider creativity as being an equal agent of influence to science. By using living material as a new art medium, Bio art posits creativity in a symbiotic relationship with science, which is as important in effecting the composition of ideas, but also of affecting life itself. The material result can be considered an art science hybrid.
Towards Humane Technologies: Biotechnology, New Media and Citizenship Conference 2002. Procedings of the 2002 Towards Humane Technologies Conference (Ipswitch, Qld. 15-17 July, 2002)