Natural Aesthetics: Digital Art and Philosophy in the Era of Technologized Biomimicry

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The arts and technology are coming together in exciting ways in contemporary society. New experimental media such as biology, data, and technology are leading artists, scientists, and other individuals to new realms of knowledge discovery and creative expression. Philosophy, concerned with aesthetics and epistemology (the study of knowledge), provides an interesting lens for understanding current activity in a range of contexts where art, technology, and biology are linked. These contexts include GenerativeArt, BioArt, Biomimicry, Synthetic Biology, and CrowdArt.

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  • 1.Natural Aesthetics: Digital Art and Philosophy in the Era of Technologized Biomimicry Melanie Swan Technology Philosopher MS Futures Group +1-650-681-9482 m@MelanieSwan.com August 7, 2013 UC Berkeley Slides: http://slideshare.net/LaBlogga

2. What is Digital Art? 2 Probably not what comes to mind! 3. Digital Art is anything involving Computers and Art 3 4. The Legible City: Jeffrey Shaw 4 http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/the-legible-city/ Video: http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/the-legible-city/video/1/ The Legible City by Jeffrey Shaw (1988-1991) 5. Boundary Functions: Scott Snibbe Boundary Functions by Scott Snibbe (1998) http://www.snibbe.com/projects/interactive/boundaryfunctions/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ax4pgtHQDg 5 6. What is Digital Art? 6 Interactivity, Co-Creation, Ephemerality 7. What is Digital Art? 7 8. What is Digital Art? 8 9. What is Digital Art? 9 10. What is Digital Art? 10 11. 11 What is Digital Art? Tactical Media, Hactivism, Electronic Civil Disobedience Graffiti Research Lab and Stiktu augmented reality social graffiti app from Layar 12. What is (early) Digital Art? 12 Hypertext, hypermedia, net.art, web art 13. What is (regular) Art? 13 Art is whatever the artworld (e.g.; art schools, museums, critics, artists) considers to be art Danto 1964 14. 14 Why Digital Art and Philosophy? Philosophy Concerned with: Understanding Art, economics, politics Concerned with: Experience Concepts Qualitative Quantitative Science and technology Concerned with: Characterization and Innovation Abstraction Figuration Enumeration Deleuzean Concepts: rhizome, body without organs, molar, molecular, smooth, striated, figural, machinic, faciality, deterritorialization, haecceity, nomadology, the diagram, desiring-production Three disciplines for analyzing reality, "separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another Deleuze, Negotiations 1997 15. Concepts in Natural Aesthetics 15 Digital Art and Natural Aesthetics: anything involving technology, art, and biology Philosophical concepts Reality and Authenticity Discipline portability Form and function De Novo creation Individual and Society 16. 16 Is this image of something real? What kind of real? Real life? Artificial Life? Synthetic Biology? Computer-generated image? Distinguishing What is Real Proliferation in the categories of realism What does it mean that it is impossible to tell? 17. Distinguishability of Computer Art 17 Is it art or not art if we can tell it was computer-made? Repticity representational authenticity 18. Concepts in Natural Aesthetics 18 Digital Art and Natural Aesthetics: anything involving technology, art, and biology Philosophical concepts Reality and Authenticity Discipline portability Form and function De Novo creation Individual and Society 19. What is BioArt? 19 Artists using biology as an expressive medium Artwork created using live tissue, bacteria, or other living organisms together with scientific processes Requires collaboration of artists and biologists Term coined in 2000 by Eduardo Kac, an American artist born in Brazil Petri Dish Paintings 20. Notable BioArtworks 20 Earmouse (1997) Human ear grown on the back of a mouse (science turned into art) GFP (green-fluorescent protein) Art Bunny (2000) GlowCats (2011) Lawn Chair sculpture (2002) Denise King, Carnivorous Contraptions, Chlorophilia show 21. The Algae Opera (2012) Digital Design Weekend, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 21 Interactive performance and audience consumption piece Opera singer produces Co2 to feed algae to feed the audience BioArt as commentary on agricultural futures (produced by Agri) 22. Tissue Engineered BioArt 22 Semi-Living Worry Dolls (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr 2002 SymbioticA artistic lab) hymNext Designer Hymen Series (Julia Reodica 2006) BioArt conceptual issues Is the commentary strengthened by real biology as the medium? New medium requires new commentary BioArt exhibition issues Maintaining wet bioart in-gallery Technique-sharing with local biologists; collaboration between artists and biologists (e.g; BioArt Initiative RPI) Living-matter transport (e.g.; UK Human Tissue Authority), compliance (e.g.; Steve Kurtz) 23. 23 http://www.siembieda.com/burg.html Group data project: Human systems (heart, lungs) representation of commercial building energy consumption (San Jose, CA 2010) B.U.R.G. (Building User Response Gizmos) 24. Concepts in Natural Aesthetics 24 Digital Art and Natural Aesthetics: anything involving technology, art, and biology Philosophical concepts Reality and Authenticity Discipline portability Form and function De Novo creation Individual and Society 25. Best Science Pictures of the Year 25 Neuro-synaptic Computer Chip 3D CT Scan of Clam and Whelk Shell MRI of Human Brain White Matter National Geographic coverage 2012 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge 2009 BioScapes Microscope Imaging Contest Water Flea Crown of Thorns 26. 26 Aesthetics in Fluorescent-staining Practices 27. 27 Framsticks (2010) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9WVF6c8E7c Tentacular - Evolved Virtual Creatures (2007) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm2n_ped-TA Form and Function: Artificial Life (A-Life) A field of study and an associated art form Examines systems related to the evolution of life Art or Science? Depends on practitioner and intention Practitioner Intent: Science 28. Artificial Life (A-Life) 28 Practitioner Intent: Art 29. What is Generative Art? 29 Art created with the use of an autonomous system Computing or mechanical system employed System independently determines features Minimum conditions for a set of marks to function as an image? Depends on intent Generative Art - Computers, Data, and Humanity | Off Book | PBS (2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0OK1GiI83s Condensation Cube (Hans Haacke 1963) Evolved Noise (Karl Sims 2012) 77 Million Paintings (Brian Eno 2007) AARON, the AI Painter (Harold Cohen, 1995) 30. Form and Function: Macroscale Biomimicry 30 31. Macroscale Biomimicry 31 Himalayas Water Tower Winner Evolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition http://www.evolo.us/competition/himalaya-water-tower/ 32. Biomimicry for Natural Dwelling 32 Living Treehouses (Fab Tree Hab) (Mitchell Joachim 2003) Tree Circus 33. Theory of Place: Building, Dwelling, Thinking (Heidegger 1951) 33 Feeling at home, placeness, dwelling, belonging Central theme of dwelling1 Not conventional shelter or lodging Human implacement, being in place Dwelling makes becoming possible, instantiates The placeness of place Meaningfulness of our being 1Liu F. On Place-ness of Place: Dwelling. The Sustainability Collection. http://ijs.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.41/prod.461 34. Dwelling: The City 34 Living in cities: Over 50% worldwide population in 2008 5 billion in 2030 (estimated) http://www.unfpa.org/pds/urbanization.htm 35. Masdar Energy City of the Future 35 36. Reconfiguration of Space: Vertical Farms 36http://www.evolo.us/architecture/vertical-farm-in-san-diego/, http://www.verticalfarm.com/ 37. 37 Reconfiguration of Space: Transportation 38. 38 Reconfiguration of Space: Seasteading 39. De Novo Production of Space 39 Home trope in technology Organizing physical and virtual space Physical-world: co-working, co-housing Online-world: social networks, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram Virtual-world: video games, ARGs Virtual placeness How can we build virtual places for dwelling meaningfully? Dwelling Virtually 40. Concepts in Natural Aesthetics 40 Digital Art and Natural Aesthetics: anything involving technology, art, and biology Philosophical concepts Reality and Authenticity Discipline portability Form and function De Novo creation Individual and Society 41. 41 Synthetic Biology (SynBio) Definition: the (re)design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells Goal: deliver function, safety, and beauty Metaphysical issues (nature of reality) What is life? DNA change necessary for a different organism? What are living machines, in themselves? Ontological classification and naming Ethics Practice standards: safety, accountability, documenting work Unintended consequences, dual-use debate Epistemology Limits on biological knowledge-seeking? This centurys transistor Source: Swan, M. Synbio Revolution: Biology is the Engineering Medium, 6/26/11 http://futurememes.blogspot.com/2011/06/synbio-revolution-biology-is.html Artificial ligase enzyme Mycoplasma laboratorium 42. 42 Current Opinion in Chemical Biology December 2012 Volume 16 Issues 56 Pages 461-622 Mechanisms Aesthetics Molecular imaging 43. 43 Synthetic Aesthetics How would you design nature? Connecting synthetic biology, social science, and art and design1 Teams: Bioengineers and Synbio Designers Molecular design aesthetics When we make new molecules should they be beautiful? Are naturally occurring molecules beautiful? What is an ugly protein? Is form follows function relevant? Can function be beautiful? What aesthetic criteria to apply? Aesthetics of chirality 1http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/H01912X/1 and http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/media/Synthetic%20Aesthetics.pdf 44. Concepts in Natural Aesthetics 44 Digital Art and Natural Aesthetics: anything involving technology, art, and biology Philosophical concepts Reality and Authenticity Discipline portability Form and function De Novo creation Individual and Society 45. Quantified Self (QS) Art 45 Quantify Me (Laurie Frick 2013) Fries by Month (Lauren Manning 2010) Quantified Creativity (Amy Robinson 2013) 46. CrowdArt 46 Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 3, 'Water Night' (2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3rRaL-Czxw 47. Role of Aesthetics in Science/Tech 47 Level 1 Beauty, good design, improved function, interaction design Examples: Molecular Design Institutes (UCSF, NYU), NJA