My abstract for the “Taboo-Transgression-Transcendence in Art and Science” Conference

TTT Mario Savini 01.02.17

Transgenic Art. Creativity in the Era of Genetic Engineering



The spread of biotechnology and genetic engineering has developed a new creative thinking in the context of contemporary visual culture where art, science and life evolve into a network of interdependence. Starting from that, the paper analyses the works of important artists who, from the late nineties of the twentieth century, have modeled genetic material to create artistic works. These transgenic representations become a metaphor for cultural hybridisation. They are places of transaction that contradict their documentary size, losing the concept of memory, narration and storage. Artistic objects are replaced by the evanescence of aesthetics, reconsidering the relationship between image and information. This study goes beyond the boundaries of art, trying to understand the reasons of the crisis of its representation. Focusing attention on transgenic art means to say that the artist as a scientist, not only is able to change life, but to reinvent it completely. Attention is also given to mixtures of the various ontological categories where bodies are connected to machines in an intimate or hidden way, questioning the idea of nature and the concept of life. This proposal will try to answer the following questions: how has molecular biology influenced the development of contemporary art? Who is the artist today and what are the new areas of inquiry?


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