Seminar: plagues, monsters, chimeras: art, biology and technology

7th to 30th july 2010

Seminar: plagues, monsters, chimeras: art, biology and technology

This course examines the relationship between art and life sciences through the fantasies associated with the dreams of transforming or modifying nature and the living, specifically through the fear of plagues, the fascination with the creation of monsters or the endeavour to conjure up chimeras.

If the history of humankind is dotted with references to plagues, monsters and chimeras in the popular imaginary, at the current moment in time we find a growing number of artists using plants, cells, genes and other biological materials in and for their creations. Practitioners creating eco-installations in the environment and alterations in the landscape to remind us of the importance of our surrounding environment. From a humanist approach, they all contribute to the key issues of recent decades, such as how we construct ourselves as subjects in our techno-scientific society.

Art has always played a hinge role in the change of perception of our environment. Art’s relationship with science leads to practices looking to impinge on the social, ethical and epistemological domains of contemporaneity. Nowadays, divesting life sciences of their practical function and recontextualising them in aesthetic forms, we are exploring the frontiers between nature and art.

Professors: Raquel Rennó and Pau Alsina

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