Biotech Controversy by Oscar Chacon

The role of animals and tissue use for biotech has been a critical subject matter for this week.  The first response to these artists using live tissues, and genetically modifying animals for the sake of art is customarily negative. Although, I believe this is solely based on the perspective of the experimentation in biotech.  Extremist on both sides of the argument can give logical explanations and reasoning for their actions or contempt towards this sort of experiments. 

            The genius Leonardo Da Vinci was accredited by obscure sources as having been vegetarian, and freeing birds after purchasing them.  It is easy to hold this argument for an extremist point of view as the use of animals for experimentation as being flat out wrong.  This argument can broaden and eliminate a traditional perspective in the thought of extermination of animals in the past for whatever reason as well accepted. Although, as stated by Victoria Vesna, “Our world is too complex, too problematic and too overwhelming to be approached from one angle.” The assessment of complexity by many artists in their work is to offer, “the insight it may offer to ethical choice.”

Many people hold the argument that animals are not to be sacrificed for experimentation with the objective of creating an artwork. This is a true clash between the sciences and the arts, where art seeks to create something without an absolute function.  The sciences traditionally have a set objective and can justify the sacrifice of live tissues or animals. Whereas with art there is an obscure objective to create but then there is the question, for what reasons? The analyses of works done by such artists that have delved in biotech or  “biological art” does got farther than aesthetics or artistic aspects.  This is tried as separate from the ethics of their experimentation, which is ludicrous to say the least.  The perspective is key.  If there is no functional reason and more so if the primary reason is aesthetics then artist should not experiment with biotech that causes harm to animals or live tissues.  It is reasonable to experiment with the aesthetics of past experimentation that has had some success.  This will allow artists to express themselves in a creative fashion in biotech within a reasonable jurisdiction.  For example, the use of live tissues has brought up some arguments of arbitrary usage of biotech, but nothing of extreme controversy. The luminescent bunny that was succeeded after several tragic failures was of heavy controversy. Causing certain death in animals is the real controversy. Well, at least that is my opinion.

The reality is that there is a huge complexity on the levels of the ethics meshed between the sciences and arts.  The controversies raised from the integration of science in art are numerous but much more a predicament that must be dealt with the input of experts from both fields.  Then we can come to a reasonable consensus and set ourselves to be free to experience the progression of our scientist and the creative expressions of our fellow artist.

Roy Ascot Explains in an Interview on 2004 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKsQjGC3Js4

- Oscar Chacon

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