Thursday, February 2, 2012

Possible Thesis

As biotechnology makes genetic engineering an immanent inevitability, many people are questioning whether we should mess with Nature. Whether the critics are religious or not, the popular phrase we hear more and more, that we are "playing God," suggest that through genetic manipulation of code, we will be able to completely control the immaterial and material world. This makes us the new kind of "author" figure, but this time, rather than writing about the meaning of life, we are writing on life. The fear that geneticists are "playing God," if we take into account the analogy that God is the author of the Book of the World, assumes that the author has complete control over the text of the world and  various readers are  there to merely decipher it. Perhaps if we deciphered the creation of God, we could understand the purpose of life. 

But such a view is not possible in this post-Nietzschean era--God is dead. The Author is dead. 

What I mean to suggest by this parallel is that BioArtists attempt to show that they cannot control life as a God/Author, but nor are they simply readers. Just as we realize that language resists transparent meaning and manipulation, BioArt resists the idea that we could ever read or communicate life in its entirety through deciphering a code. Indeed, BioArtists foreground the idea that life resists code, like a language. Furthermore,  just as New Media artists and theorists have been working for years to insist on the materiality of digital information, so BioArt insists on the materiality of genetic information. BioArtists may begin at the genetic level or the tissue level, but wherever they may begin, each visualizes the materiality of their medium and their embeddness in a complex ecological system that make up their "work." 

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