Monday, December 27, 2010

Vandana Shiva

We'll be reading some of Shiva's work in my Spring 2011 posthumanism course.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


from miriam nouri:

also interesting: anouk wipprecht's pseudomorphs:

and more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Final gallery show

Just a few images from the gallery show. Victoria Sendra's Camera Obscura is featured in the first; the second image shows a brief little text that was part of Miriam Nouri's work. More pictures coming soon.

For more images, click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thanks to Everyone in the Bio Art Cluster! The projects were wonderfully provocative and the performances were moving and compelling.... I really enjoyed seeing your work and sharing in the discussions.

Don't forget to pick up your projects on Monday 12/13 from A116. 10a-12n and 1p-4p.

Have a great winter break!

I'd like to pass along some links from the Conversations on Technology, Media and Culture
class- enjoy!

Glowing Trees:

Computer Generated Biology Visualizations:

Thursday, December 9, 2010







Thursday, November 18, 2010


Here are the results of the voice experiment that Mike Bryant did with his "Sex and Death" course cluster class--for a word from Mike about the results, check the comments section of the earlier entry titled "Sex and Death Voice Experiment".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The 3rd I

from James Wiltgen, who found this in the NYT's ArtsBeat section:

NOVEMBER 16, 2010, 2:09 PM
Art that Looks Backward

A New York University photography professor will have a camera surgically implanted in the back of his head for several months as part of an art project commissioned by the government of Qatar, The Wall Street Journal reported. The project, called “The 3rd I” and organized by a new Qatari museum called Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, will involve the camera taking pictures at one-minute intervals with the images being streamed to a computer database and then appearing in different sequences, some in real time, on monitors in an exhibition space in Doha between December and May.

According to The Journal, the professor, Wafaa Bilal, has offered to cover the camera with a lens cap when he is on the N.Y.U. campus, out of respect for students’ privacy, but the university may require him to turn the camera off. In a statement on Tuesday the university said it was in discussions with Mr. Bilal about to how to ensure that his camera would not take pictures in N.Y.U. buildings. Mr. Bilal, who was born in Iraq, has provoked controversy with earlier projects, including one in 2008 called “Virtual Jihadi,” in which he altered a video game to insert an avatar of himself as a suicide-bomber targeting George W. Bush.

More brain stuff

Brain house, a collaboration between MA in Aesthetics and Politics student Drew Denny and Critical Studies faculty member Norman Klein for Tom Leeser's

Brainwave music, by David Rosenboom:


time to start preparing your project for this:


Thursday, December 9th, 7:30-9:30pm, Gallery A116.

Opening reception for the bioart gallery show (Friday, December 3rd-Friday, December 10th) featuring work from students enrolled in at least one of the cluster courses.

Pizza and soda will be provided.

Phil Ross' Juggernaut (2004):

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


here's another one from the NYT:


this just in from James Wiltgen--it's a fascinating article from the NYT about cinema and biology. the video on the page is particularly interesting.

here's "the inner life of a cell":

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


this link will take you to the experiment that mike bryant is performing with the students in his sex and death class:

here's the introduction to the experiment:

Thank you for logging into the” CSSM265 Sex and Death” voice experiment

Your voluntary participation is appreciated! The people who have provided their voice samples are volunteers and know what this experiment is about. Your answers are anonymous and the voice volunteers will never know how you responded to their voice. They will not even know in aggregate.

Please answer the questions honestly. You may leave questions blank if you do not want to answer them.
Please do not participate in this experiment if you are under 18 years old!
Click on "Take our Experiment" to continue. Instructions for participating in the experiment can be found on the next page.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Biology, Technology, and the Arts

A symposium presented by
The Fall 2010 Interdisciplinary Course Cluster “On Bio-Art”
At the California Institute of the Arts



Afternoon Speakers

4:30pm: Michael Bryant, School of Critical Studies, CalArts

4:35pm: Martie Haselton, Communication Studies and Psychology, UCLA

4:50pm: Philip Ross, Founding Director of CRITTER

5:05pm: Robert Mitchell, Department of English, Duke

5:20pm: Michael Pisaro, School of Music, CalArts

5:35pm: Anne Marie Oliver, Intermedia and Contemporary Theory, PNCA

5:50-6:20pm: Discussion with the audience

6:20-7:30pm: Break

Evening Lecture

7:30pm: Arne De Boever, School of Critical Studies/MA in Aesthetics and Politics, CalArts

7:35pm: Catherine Malabou, Université Paris-X Nanterre and SUNY Buffalo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Facebook page for Malabou lecture and Bioart Conference

Jayson Lantz set up a facebook page for Tuesday's events. This link should take you there:

Miriam Nourí sent on this work, by Julianne Swartz:

For more info, click here.

Friday, November 5, 2010


hi everyone,

those of you who would like to catch a ride to MOCA on tuesday, november 9th to attend the afternoon conference on "biology, technology, and the arts" as well as the evening lecture by catherine malabou should gather on the steps at the main calarts entrance (in front of the blue wall) at 2pm OR at 3:30pm. several cars will be leaving at 2pm, and you might want to catch a ride with the early ones just to make sure you have a spot. most of the cars will be leaving at 3:30pm. please be punctual so that our drivers do not have to wait around.

if you have any questions about this, please contact the course cluster TA, justine de penning.

hope to see many of you there!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Enormous Microscopic Evening, with Phil Ross

This just in from Phil Ross:

Admission: Free!
Come down to the Hammer Museum on November 6th from 4-7 PM and get small in a big way at Enormous Microscopic Evening! This free event will celebrate and demonstrate the range of equipment people are using to explore the invisible, from state of the art futuristic equipment to home made one-of-a-kind technologies.

Observe mesmerizing and sublime live images created by experts, amateurs, and hobbyists who will share how they practice their craft. Live music will accompany your journey into the enormously microscopic, where you can see dancing DNA, view miniature life through the eye of an IMAX camera, and take home a portrait of your own cheek cell to hang on your fridge. What might a world with over a billion connected microscopes look like? Enormous Microscopic Evening will be demonstrating the possibilities of using cheap and powerful networked microscopes. Learn how “social microscopy” is being used in medicine, mapping and environmental safety, and changing the way we look at the whole world in the process.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Big week coming up for those involved in our course cluster:

On Monday, November 8th, Phil Ross and Rich Pell are speaking in Tom Leeser's "Conversations on Technology, Culture, and Practice" course. Time: 7pm. Location: A116. This event is open to ALL students participating in the cluster--and I'm sure you won't be turned away if you're not taking any of the cluster classes. This is a unique opportunity to find out about these artists' practices in the informal context of a class. Be there!

On Tuesday, November 9th, your afternoon and evening are already booked: you'll be traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Grand Avenue, to attend a symposium on the crossover of biology, technology, and the arts today. Scientists, philosophers, and artists will gather to discuss topics relevant to the course cluster topic: bioart. Participants will include Phil Ross (CRITTER salon), Martie Haselton (UCLA), Robert Mitchell (Duke--author of a recent book titled Bioart and the Vitality of Media, which is featured on this blog), Anne Marie Oliver (PNCA), and others. In the evening, French philosopher Catherine Malabou will be giving a lecture titled "Plasticity: New Political Modes of Being." Professor Malabou is one of the major voices working in continental philosophy today--this is really an event that's not to be missed.

There will be vans going from CalArts to MOCA on Tuesday afternoon, so you do not have to worry about transport. More info about the vans will be posted here, so check in later this week for more information.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Big Bambú

from Miriam Nouri:

Visitors witness the continuing creation and evolving incarnations of Big Bambú as it is constructed throughout the spring, summer, and fall by the artists and a team of rock climbers. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big Bambú suggests the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism.{9C6923D2-D348-4761-BEB3-A943934068D2}

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Manfred Max-Neef

Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef has coined the term- 'barefoot economics.'
His metaphor speaks directly of an economic sustainability as well as an ecological one.
Here's a recent interview::

He won the Right Livelihood Award in 1983, two years after the publication of his book 
"Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics."
Here's a quote- 'knowledge is not enough, we must also have understanding.'


Hi Everyone-

I wanted to pass along this link to the British based artists-
Dan Harvey and Heather Ackroyd.

We've worked with them over the years in the Center for Integrated Media- and their
work is another example of a creative practice that engages our alienation from nature and offers an alternative view of the term 'sustainability'....

Here's another link to a project that they did a few years back for our site-


Friday, October 15, 2010

Phil Ross and Rich Pell visit IM

Hi Everyone- This is a reminder that Phil Ross and Rich Pell will visit the Center for  Integrated Media on Nov. 8 (A116, 7-pm)

Here's their bios:

Rich Pell

Richard Pell is a founding member of the highly acclaimed art and engineering collective, the Institute for Applied Autonomy. His work with IAAincludes several robotic, web and biologically based projects that call into question the imperatives that drive technological development. IAA projects such as the robotic GraffitiWriter, iSee and TXTmob have been exhibited in art, activist and engineering contexts such as the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Mass MoCA, CAC in Cincinnati, Australian Center for the Moving Image, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Hackers On Planet Earth and the International Conference On Robotics And Automation. IAA projects have been chosen for an Award of Distinction and two Honorable Mentions at the Prix-Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and were selected for RES Magazine’s 10 Best New Artists of 2005. His narrative and documentary videos explore the individual’s relationship to authority. His most recent video documentary entitled, Don’t Call Me Crazy On The 4th Of July, won the Best Michigan Director Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2005, took 1st prize at the Iowa International Documentary Film Festival has screened in numerous festivals internationally. In 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Rockefeller New Media Fellowship for the establishment of a new museum entitled The Center for PostNatural History.

Phil Ross

For the past fifteen years I have been making research based artworks that place natural systems within a frame of social and historic contexts. While this often takes form as sculptural installations my recent work has included a trilogy of videos about microorganisms, founding and directing CRITTER- a salon for the natural sciences in San Francisco, and developing some LEED Transplutonic building materials. These diverse projects stem from my fascination with the interrelationships between human beings, technology and the greater living environment.


My personal drive for making work about the organic world is born from a lifetime interest in biology. While I was terrible in high-school science and math my education emerged through a more direct engagement with materials and practices; as a chef I began to understand biochemistry and laboratory methods, as a hospice caregiver I worked with life support technologies and environmental controls, and through my interest in wild mushrooms I learned about taxonomies, forest ecologies and husbandry. Engaging with the sciences through an every day practice is a route that is aesthetically, intellectually and symbolically rich. In my various projects I show what I find interesting about the natural world, and use the lens of human artifice to achieve a specific focus of that view.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Slavoj Zizek on Ecology

In my course "Take Care of Yourself," we came across the motto "an unexamined life is not worth living" last week. Those of you who attended Timothy Morton's talk last Thursday will remember that Slavoj Zizek's work was mentioned a number of times. The clip below, which features Zizek in the documentary Examined Life, might be a nice introduction to our conversation this Thursday with Miranda and Ian (see previous post).

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Thursday, October 14th. 8-9pm, Gallery A116.

Second cluster night, with Miranda Wright and Ian Garrett from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.

Pizza and soda will be provided.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Timothy Morton will give a talk on HYPEROBJECTS, this Thursday, October 7th, at 7:30pm, in Café A.

Spread the word!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two snapshots of Tom Leeser's presentation on the first cluster night:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Take Care of Yourself: Paul/Marcus Aurelius responses

This is for MA/MFA students in "Take Care of Yourself (On Biotechnics)" only: please post your responses on Paul and Marcus Aurelius as comments to this message.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Hi Everyone- Here is the BioArt schedule for visiting artists to the IM class- Conversations on Technology, Culture and Practice::


Friday, September 24, 2010

Hi Everyone-

Check out Phil Ross on the NY Times Web site-

Phil is hosting bug eating events around the nation.

Sorry I'm a vegetarian. Enjoy.


Hi Everyone-

Here are the links from my talk last night at the Cluster Gathering in A116-

Critical Art Ensemble
Rensselaer Institute BioArt Initiative
The Borg Queen
The UC Berkeley Exoskeleton
Genesis P-Orridge


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Thursday, September 23rd. 8-9pm, Gallery A116:

Cluster kick-off (first cluster night), with short presentations by the course cluster faculty.

Pizza and soda will be provided.

Spread the word!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take Care of Yourself MA/MFA reading responses

This is for MA/MFA students in "Take Care of Yourself (On Biotechnics)" only: please post your responses as comments to this message. One of you pointed out to me that posting your responses on the home page will push back some of the other vital information related to the cluster that is available here--by posting responses as comments, we can avoid this problem.

Thanks, and see you in class tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Events this week


Wednesday, September 22nd. Time TBA. **RESCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH, 7-9PM.** Gallery A116:

Screening of Strange Culture by Lynn Hershman Lesson, a documentary/fiction film about the case of Steve Kurtz, an artist who was arrested for bioterrorism.

Thursday, September 23rd. 8-9pm, Gallery A116:

Cluster kick-off (first cluster night), with short presentations by the course cluster faculty.

Pizza and soda will be provided.

Spread the word!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series

Here's the flyer for the Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series. The first and second talks on the program are also listed on our events page.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Idea for a field trip:

New event

Miranda Wright and Ian Garrett from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts will come speak for us on Thursday, October 14th about the CSPA project:

For more info, see our events page.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fallen Fruit at LACMA

This just in from Matias Viegener:

Please join David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young for drinks and an informal talk-- with a mysterious live apparition by Charlotte Cotton – to celebrate Fallen Fruit Presents the Fruit of LACMA

A collaboration between three artists founded in 2004, all of Fallen Fruit's work uses fruit as a lens. Fruit interests them in the way it spans history and different classes, ages, and ethnic groups; it’s everywhere, sometimes invisible but ubiquitous. Through it they find surprising and innovative ways to talk about land use, art history, social relations and neighborliness. Fallen Fruit's work includes photographs, videos, installations and participatory public events that express these ideas in dynamic ways.

EATLACMA is Fallen Fruit’s year-long project at LACMA that investigates food, art, culture and politics. It unfolds in three "acts," with artist gardens currently on view around the campus and an exhibition, The Fruit of LACMA, in which the artists curate pieces from the museum’s permanent collection in several media (painting, photography, and decorative arts) to examine the haunting persistence of fruit in art. It examines the symbolic and sociological aspects of fruit in art, from religious symbolism to embedded social messages. Included is a LACMA-commissioned piece from Fallen Fruit, a wall paper print of public fruit harvested on one day in Silver Lake, rendered in a traditional decorative pattern. For more information see and

Thursday, August 12th, 5 to 7pm
Talk begins promptly at 5:30

Monday, August 9, 2010

GFP pigs

On GFP pigs:

Marc Zimmer's site on GFP is helpful:

Thanks to molecular biologist Jan Van Doorsselaere for the info about the pigs.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Butterflies with modified wing patterns:

This is old news, but still relevant:

"An increasingly popular commercial corn, genetically engineered to produce a bacterial toxin to protect against corn pests, has an unwanted side effect: Its pollen kills monarch butterfly larvae in laboratory tests, according to a report by Cornell University researchers."

The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project

Check this out:,en/

From the website:

"The Cosmopolitan Chicken project includes the worldwide experimental project with which Koen Vanmechelen hopes to develop a super-hybrid chicken. Crossbreeds clearly plays an essential role in Vanmechelen's work, not only in chickens but also in materials and disciplines. Topical themes such as genetic manipulation, cloning, globalisation and multiculturalness are found throughout his work. An important lateral project is the search for the Red Jungle Fowl, the primal chicken which is still found in Asia. Vanmechelen likes to describe his work in Hegelian terms: thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The chicken and the egg are a metaphor for the human race and art."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Acoustic ecology

For those of you interested in taking Michael Pisaro's course on acoustic ecology, I recommend the first chapter of Timothy Morton's Ecology without Nature. He mentions R. Murray Schafer there and criticizes acoustic ecology because it "yearns for an organic world of face-to-face contact in which the sound of things corresponds to the way they appear to the senses and to a certain concept of the natural" (Ecology without Nature, 43). As the title of Morton's book suggests, it might be that we need to get rid of such a concept of the natural in order to think ecology.

Schafer's book is on the reading list for Michael's course.

Morton also discusses John Cage in this context:

Even Sonic Youth passes the revue. Thurston Moore's notion of "pastoral violence" is à propos:

What are hyperobjects?

The title of Timothy Morton's talk on Thursday, October 7th is "hyperobjects." In the closing sections of his book The Ecological Thought, Morton explains what he means by this:

"Alongside global warming, 'hyperobjects' will be our lasting legacy. Materials from humble Styrofoam to terrifying plutonium will far outlast current social and biological forms. We are talking about hundreds and thousands of years. Five hundred years from now, polystyrene objects such as cups and takeout boxes will still exist. Ten thousand years ago, Stonehenge didn't exist. Ten thousand years from now, plutonium will still exist.

Hyperobjects do not rot in our lifetimes. They do not burn without themselves burning (releasing radiation, dioxins, and so on). The ecological thought must think the future of these objects, these toxic things that appear almost more real than reality itself, like the acidic blood of the Alien in Ridley Scott's film, which burns through metal floors." (The Ecological Thought, 130)

It might be time to watch this again:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bill Burns' Safety Gear for Small Animals

There should be a place here somewhere for this:

Robert Mitchell on bioart and media

As a handbook for the course cluster, I strongly recommend Robert Mitchell’s Bioart and the Vitality of Media. It’s a great little book—I’ve posted the book’s cover at the bottom of this page—that brings together many of the questions that are central to the topic of the cluster.

In his book, Mitchell makes the case for Tom Leeser’s course, i.e. he builds a great argument as to why a course on bioart matters in the curriculum of the Center for Integrated Media. There’s a whole chapter on this in his book, but here’s what he has to say about it in his introduction:

“Bioart seems to me to be an especially useful object of analysis for this project of rethinking media for several reasons. First, insofar as bioart links artistic goals and techniques with biological technologies, bioartworks also frequently end up bringing together two quite different senses of media. On the one hand, bioart draws from the more familiar sense of ‘medium’ as a material means through which thoughts, information, images, sounds, colors, textures are stored and transmitted from one place or time to another (it is in this sense that one speaks of newspapers and television as instances of ‘mass media,’ for example). On the other hand, bioart also draws on the sense of ‘media’ used by biologists, for whom the term refers to fluids or solids that are employed to keep living cells developing, dividing, and transforming during the course of an experiment. Bioart links these two conceptions of media by situating biological media and technologies within a milieu—namely, an art gallery—that has traditionally been associated with the sense of media as a means for storage and communication.

Second, and equally significant, bioart produces in its ‘spectators’ an embodied sense of this link between these two senses of media, for by using living beings—or by revealing ways in which spectators are bound, beyond their control, to other forms of life—bioart frames spectators as themselves media for the transformative powers of life” (Bioart and the Vitality of Media, 11).

Mitchell will be speaking at our afternoon MOCA event on Tuesday, November 9th. CalArts will provide vans to facilitate your transport to the city.

The case of Steve Kurtz

In case you haven't heard of this:

A film has been made about the case (

This film will be screened in Gallery A116 during the last full week of September (September 20th-September 24th). It will be discussed in a roundtable with course cluster faculty scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd, at A116.

Timothy Stock and Warren Heise made a graphic novel about the case titled Suspect Culture:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Timothy Morton on Alba

Here's Timothy Morton on Eduardo Kac's fluorescent rabbit:

"Is the horror of this art simply the shock value derived from the clichéd Frankenstein interpretation--that science has overstepped the bounds of human propriety [see clip below]? Or is it the revelation that if you can do that to a rabbit, then there wasn't that much of a rabbit in the first place? If you really could put duck genes in rabbit genes and rabbit genes in duck genes, it would give a new spin to Joseph Jastrow's duck-rabbit illusion [reproduced below]. You really would be able to see a duck or a rabbit at the same time, because you never really saw a duck or a rabbit in the first place. There are less ducks and rabbits not in number but in essence. We're faced with the extraordinary fact of increasing detail and vanishing fullness. The ecological thought makes our world vaster and more insubstantial at the same time." (The Ecological Thought, 36-7)

Morton is speaking at CalArts on Thusday, October 7th.

Here's the image that Michael Bryant refers to in the third comment on this post:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This should be of interest to some of you:

The folks from Fallen Fruit will come speak in Tom Leeser's course on Monday, October 4th.

Some new events

This just in from Philip Ross, who is one of the speakers for our November 9th course cluster conference at MOCA, and will be one of the visiting speakers in Tom Leeser's course as well:

"i will be down in LA a few days before your november 9th conference, curating an event at the hammer museum called 'enormous microscopic evening' that is part of my CRITTER salon. this will take place on november 6th and will bring together numerous scientists, technologists and amateurs to show off their instruments. the day before the event i will be organizing a workshop at machine project, with rich pell teaching folks how to make web cam based microscopes and myself demonstrating how to recreate the original leeuwenhoek device. i will send you more on all of this as we get our press machine in order."

For more info, see our events page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the 24700 blog

The flyer (below) was designed by Yogi Proctor, currently a student in the MA in Aesthetics and Politics program (

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is all biology art?

If I were a bioartist, I’d put a regular rabbit in a museum. Eduardo Kac’s Alba supposedly qualifies as bioart because it’s a rabbit that has had a gene from a jellyfish implanted in its DNA. If we take Alba as our example, bioart is an artifice constructed by an artist using biological material. But that seems to suggest that the rabbit in itself was not yet bioart, in other words that there exists a realm of biology that would somehow not yet be affected (infected?) by art, and (by extension) by technology (from the Greek word “technè”, “art”).

However, Kac’s rabbit could already be considered an example of bioart before Kac’s intervention: its genetic material is a complex mix of the genetic material of two other rabbits. What goes in as a carrot on one end of the rabbit comes out looking like something entirely different on the other end. Surely digestion also is an example of bioart? Surely Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca factory ( qualifies? In a short essay called “In Praise of Profanation”, Giorgio Agamben recalls Italo Calvino’s statement that “feces are a human production just like any other, only there has never been a history of them”…

This seems to lead to the conclusion that there is no biology that exists separately from art. Does that mean that all biology is art? What would be the consequences of this for our understanding of biology and art?