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: