As an Art Historian I recognized that paradigm shifts in art history have happened conjointly with technological innovations. Biotechnology is a frontier that will change how almost everything will be made. Up until recently Art has been made. Through Biotechnology, artists now are starting to have tools to grow works of Art. Today, Synthetic Biology allows the re-creation of nature in a faster and more profound way.
Conceptually my work is a continuation of the XIX century schism between Realism and Naturalism, joining back together a naturalistic recreation of what is “real” nature. Making the pieces in that sense, more natural than Nature itself. Art adopting Synthetic Biology raises questions about what is “natural” versus what is “created”.
Now is the time when artists and designers have the opportunity to decide how culture will look in the future. It is important that we have a voice in that discussion. My practice combines Synthetic Biology, Art as Life Practice, and Japanese Bonsai trees. Genetically Modified Trees as art work can be observed with the naked eye. They are confrontational in their materiality; they are the simultaneous product of Nature and technological intervention. Bonsai have the plasticity to be transformed both through Synthetic Biology and mechanically, therefore are excellent vessels for SynBio Art. Their long lives preserve them, allowing the living organisms to be the Works of Art themselves instead of documentation, photographs or reproductions. The aesthetic of my artworks discuss ethical and philosophical questions of our relationship with nature. One key ethical question I am exploring is the notion of “owning” nature. The ownership The GMOs as works of
art may not be owned, what can be traded are the rights of exhibiting and the responsibilities of caring for the living artworks. Philosophically, my work proposes that what we consider natural is in fact cultural (Nature is Culture), triggering a re-negotiation with nature from a cultural perspective. The tree pieces project the notion that an advanced enough civilization is indistinguishable from Nature. Interestingly, the artist and the owner of the rights/responsibilities forge a bond, jointly exploring the formal questions of exhibiting, curating, and preserving living works of art. This is Art as Life Practice.