Bio-artists bridge gap between arts, sciences

Jessica M. Pasko of the AP at MSNBC:

Screenhunter_05_mar_08_1534Adam Zaretsky once spent 48 hours playing Engelbert Humperdincks’s “Greatest Hits” to a dish of E.coli bacteria to determine whether vibrations or sounds influenced bacterial growth. Watching the bacteria’s antibiotic production increase, Zaretsky decided that perhaps even cells were annoyed by constant subjection to “loud, really awful lounge music.”

This sense of humor is a huge component of Zaretsky’s work in the growing field of bio-art, a broad term for the blend of art, technology and science that is attracting artists, scientists and controversy. Having recently taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Zaretsky has become a prominent figure in the realm of bio-art and RPI is becoming a Petri dish for the cultivation of new works.

Bio-artists use live tissues, bacteria, living organisms and life processes to create works of art that blur the traditional distinctions between science and art. Most of these works tend toward social reflection, conveying political and societal criticism through the combination of artistic and scientific processes.

More here.