Â Cultivation Field is a Postgrad exhibition and symposium at the University of Reading (thanks to RANE for circulating) deadline for abstracts 29 July â€“ exhibition and symposium end September 2011.
The premise for this Symposium and accompanying Exhibition is that cultivation is leading to new art practices deserving of critical inquiry and articulation. Whether in the garden or allotment, the soup kitchen or the road, on wasteland or the tower block, or wherever there are cracks in the system, cultivation provokes questions about human beingâ€™s relation to and encounter with the earth and its growth systems and operations. The purpose of this Symposium and Exhibition is to encourage discursive exchange and productive encounter between art practitioners and researchers within the cultivation field. Â moreâ€¦
ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
In the simplest of terms for a complex practice, bio-art incorporates organic matter into works of art. For example,Â Philip Ross built a teahouse out of fungus, and composerÂ David Dunn took three trumpet players into the Grand Canyon and recorded the canyonâ€™s reverberations.
But one of the more famousâ€“and controversialâ€“works is by artistÂ Eduardo Kac who commissioned a French laboratory to create Alba, a rabbit implanted with a green fluorescent protein gene from a type of jellyfish.George Gessert, another pioneering bioartist who is known for breeding plants into art,Â writes about Kacâ€™s rabbit piece:
The aesthetic novelty of a rabbit that fluoresces is enough to make GFP Bunny a sensation, but that novelty is not the most important aspect of the project. Kac is most interested in how we perceive genetically engineered organisms, and how we integrate them into our lives. When he exhibits Alba, he does so in a living-room-like setting that he inhabits along with the rabbit. The setting draws attention to the social networks in which she exists. These networks include her interactions with other rabbits, her interactions with human beings, and human interactions with one another in response to her. Kacâ€™s longterm plan for Alba is to make her a member of his household. Questions about the definition of nature fall away before questions of the well-being of animals, and of connections between species.
To examine this burgeoning field, CalArts is offering an interdisciplinary course cluster on bio-art this fall, with five classes focusing on topics at the intersection of biology, art and technology.
â€œBio-art is a one of the most exciting fields of creative practice and critical inquiry today, and this selection of courses aims to provide an enhanced understanding of bio-art through radically interdisciplinary workâ€ said Arne De Boever, School of Critical Studies faculty member and one of the instructors who helped design the course cluster.
The classes incorporated into the cluster tackle different angles on the themeâ€“from the biology of life and death to â€œacoustic ecologyâ€ to the interplay among biopolitics, aesthetics and philosophy. Students who register for one (or more) of these classes will also participate in related events throughout the semester, including guest artist lectures at CalArts, and an academic mini-conference featuring artists such as Philip Ross and David Dunn at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles. Students will also have a chance to exhibit their own bio-art in a year-end art show.