Nicolas Nelson Sec1A, Week 6

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Nicolas Nelson Sec1A, Week 6

Professor Vesna’s article was a nice abstract of the separate factions within the world of bioengineering and biotechnology, but it was difficult to relate to (maybe it’s just the scientist half of me that likes instructions off which to base creativity) because of its hesitation to defend one side or the other. It did stir up some important thoughts about anthropocentrism and suggested a sort of artistic sovereignty that gives people a universal freedom of speech (so far as the law and society permit). http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/11/19/nyregion/19art.large1.jpg Vesna and I agree that it is indeed a very noble thing to stand up against alien forces (e.g. convention) at personal risk to make the statement you feel ought to be shared (whether that conception is anything from the liberty to express itself or an outcry against the desecration of Mother Nature via maiming a tiny portion of her, as cited in the next text). But this essay reminds us that this nobility is negated should the artist disregard the opinions of enthusiasts and critics alike. Only through the scrupulous meta-analysis of the present and the acceptance of lessons learned in the past (i.e. Kac’s fluorescent rabbit issue) is an artist truly free to aesthetically articulate virtuously. As it’s been said of politics, we must live under the imprisonment of certain rules to be free—likewise in art.

Although similarly indecisive, Gigliotti’s article presents contemporary artists with essentially only two (potentially radical) options: conservative preservation of nature or modern innovation via manipulation—natural versus artificial selection. Using Eduardo Kac’s bioluminescent bunnies as its exploration into this topic, the entire essay is reluctant to choose one side or the other, but it does go in depth into each to give the reader a better chance at choosing the “correct” path for him- or herself. The arguments against his experimentation taste of the biomedical ethics of animal testing; it’s not the art in question that is the problem. To me, the imprecision in biological engineering for aesthetic purposes is totally warranted; so long as the artist is willing to sacrifice the resource materials (just like the time, money, effort, and imagination that most art mediums and their usage demand) and such consumptions do not deprive others, people should be able to create what- and however they please. It’s the animalian pain that concerns me, personally. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_t9BtdZa7Kn8/RiTBg2JAdaI/AAAAAAAAAWA/__VFMzzW-oo/s320/LabPup9.jpg Not to be PETA-esque or anything, but the purposeless pain violates utilitarianism on two levels: it causes unnecessary pain at the most physiological root (unless it could be argued that the potential pleasure the finished artistic bio-canvas would bring to those who behold it would outweigh the fauna’s affliction), and it is a “waste”—without telos—since such endeavors do not per say promote science nor the human condition (though it could likewise be argued that biological art would be a powerful enough tool to motivate the masses). Although I regret to say I lack enough faith in art for it to make such an impact on the world as to revolutionize humanity and compensate for the cons of the animal holocausts. After all, the world’s self-assembled (via geological, biological, etc. factors) gorgeous landscapes and independent biodiversity were not enough to deter developers. http://www.hkoutdoors.com/images/stories/pollution/city_of_smog.JPG But who knows? Perhaps life painted from human hands would be stronger. http://fringehog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/DNA%20art2.jpg These are in fact “new media”—perhaps powerful enough to outweigh the pen and the sword. Gigliotti, luckily, defends the art for me in a way that I cannot, and denounces utilitarianism, since such practicality could be viewed by naturalists and rationalists as the opposite of art. Don’t get me wrong, though; any scapegoat is worth the preservation of humanity and its creative beauty. Whether or not we have an intelligent designer, and regardless of its possible love for us, I can’t give it more allegiance than to my fellow mankind. Loyalty is everything, and if I had to, I would be willing to sacrifice the rest of kingdom Animalia, all other branches of life, the universe, and whatever gods put us here to preserve the human spirit—fundamentally, science, art, and technology.

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