Haunted by the Animal

In this reading, Steve Barker explored various art pieces that use animals to relay their messages. The article focused most extensively on the work of the Justice for Animals Arts Guild (JAAG). It also mentioned Mark Dion’s manifesto’s reference to use of animals in art, and focused on the controversy surrounding Marco Earistti’s goldfish installation, which allowed the audience for the piece to choose whether or not to purée goldfish swimming in blenders. Barker’s writing ends with little direction, saying that artists’ attention to science “open to perception”.

GFP Bunny

This reading dealt with Eduardo Kac’s proposal to genetically modify a rabbit so that it would glow under a specific type of blue light. Eduardo’s writing on the subject dealt extensively with the ethics and kind treatment of the rabbit so that it is loved as much as any other non-GMO animal. I found this explanation and somewhat defense of genetic modification to appear as Eduardo’s attempt at justifying genetic modification of animals as art. While I think that this is far better than genetic modification of food (which subjects control of food to patent law and corporate control), I still found the experiment somewhat problematic.

Green Light

George Gessert’s Green Light offers an examination of the life and its interplay with art. Focusing especially bioengineering of plants (and animals), the author states that “biotech art is bio art in which the living components have been biotechnologically altered”(2). His central argument is that domestication, unlike popularly believed as the product of economic desire to have an biota-backed industry, was motivated by the economic elite and their desire for aesthetically pleasing life as art. The essay also discusses many invasive species and other attempts by humans of bioengineering animals and ecosystems as well as the interference we have caused with invasive species.

The 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art

This introduction to the ISEA2012 addressed the connection between wilderness and other, broader themes that the show attempted to connect. These include electronic technology and science, economics and values, and aesthetics. The show took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico because “New Mexico and the Southwest region offer the world a site for reflection and inspiration”. Additionally, the author pointed out Leo Marx’s argument that “wilderness and its subsequent transformation under the impact of industrialization as a distinctively American phenomenon” mainly motivated by automobiles.