Bio Art

Anker (2014) has pointed out that artists working with biologically related concepts and materials have been growing significantly since the late 1980s. Even though some bio artworks have been controversial issues as it works with life as a medium, there are also many successful collaborated cases with scientists that achieved great recognition outside of the traditional scientific method (Anker 2014, p.16).

The Human Super-organism (2015)

Ann Dumitriu is a Bio Artist with massive experience and exceptional and appealing artworks. Dumitriu fuses her artworks with technology and bioscience to understand the microbial world. Particularly, Dumitriu created an interactive Bio Art piece, The Human Super-organism, which explores and understands bacteria that live in human hands. It’s ongoing  digital installation project.  The artwork is interactive as it requires participants to place their hands on a screen. The screen reveals that bacterial flora that resides in the human body as shown in Figure 1. The interactive screen has a software and utilizes infra-red sensor technology (Vidani, 2016). In her piece, Dumitriu uses her artwork make humans feel that the bacteria in their hands are cultured in a petri dish. This strategy gives her artwork its unique purpose and value. Also, Anker (2014) mentioned that her work with bacteria as communicating tools that change colours when receiving messages has been a great source for bio design.

tumblr_nowgwvj09e1qznjcko1_1280Figure 1. The Human Super-organism (Vidani, 2015)

The Silver Heart (2004)

Jane Prophet is a new media Bio Artist with intriguing pieces of artworks that include the Silver Heart. Prophet developed this beautiful piece of artwork in 2004. According to her description, she collaborated with a cardio-thoracic surgeon to develop this artwork. The art piece clearly shows the delicate part of the human’s organism. Figure 2 reveals a silver heart as opposed to the normal red one. Prophet developed this piece using Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans of the normal human heart (Prophet, 2014). She translated the scans of the human heart into a three-dimensional digital model to generate the unique image using prototyping technology. Prophet (2014) believes that the generation of the image echoes organ transplant in humans and she turned this vital human organ into an impressive art.  According to Mcneil and Ferran (2010, p.81), art brings out creative approach to different themes and ideas in the society. The artwork was generated more than 10 years ago and I think this kind of creative artworks could have been an inspiring point for development in 3D printed organ transplant development. The silver heart is evocative due to the unique and impressive colour of the heart and I believe this artwork has inspired individuals and other artists with its creativity and originality.

03-jane-prophet-silver-heart-in-row-mriFigure 2. Silver Heart (Prophet, 2004)


     Eduardo Kac is a renowned Bio Artist with revolutionary pieces of artworks including the Genesis (Collman, 2016). Kac developed this artwork between 1998 and 1999. The creation of this artwork involves the use of human-activated ultraviolet radiation, bacterial dialogical interactions, and multiplication process. Kac used his own ‘gene’ to be combined with glowing bacteria and projected as live video. The genes were converted into Morse code sequence representing a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis. The artwork was not only exhibited in the gallery but also introduced to the internet. Web-users were invited to turn on an ultraviolet light in the gallery so they were able to cause real, biological mutations in the bacteria and the audience changed the Morse Code sequence. His work was intriguing as he wanted to explore the cultural implications of the biotechnological world and at the same time, he was involving the audience to participate. I liked how he called this bio-engineered art as a new area for fetish. Causey (2001, p.201) described his work as:

“His use of advanced media to create telepresent interactivity and experimental science to create new organisms vividly repositions performance spectatorship within a virtual environment while challenging the ethical borders of biology.” (Causey 2001, p201)

genesisFigure 3. Genesis (Kac, 2001)

Fishwik et al. (2005, p.140) pointed out that artists and scientists could have different point of views and purposes when they are working together, but those boundaries are to be overcome for the greater results and that enhances both parties. I believe bio arts can be provocative but also good stimulators for the development of technology.


Anker, S. 2014, ‘The Beginnings and Ends of Bio Art’, Artlink, 34(3), pp.16-17.

Causey, M., 2001. Stealing from God: The Crisis of Creation in Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio’s Genesi and Eduardo Kac’s Genesis. Theatre Research International, 26(02), pp.199-208.

Collman, H., 2016. Bio Art: An Overview of New Media’s Thriving Sibling. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Fishwick, P, Diehl, S, Prophet, J, & Löwgren, J 2005, ‘Perspectives on Aesthetic Computing’, Leonardo, 38, 2, pp. 133-141.

Prophet, J. 2014. Silver Heart, [Online] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 October 2016]

Simone, O., 2001. Eduardo Kac’s Genesis: Biotechnology Between the Verbal, the Visual, the Auditory, and the Tactile. Leonardo Digital Reviews, Oct (2001)

Vidani, P., 2016. Bioart and Bacteria – The Artwork of Anna Dumitriu. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed: 26 October 2016].


Image References  

Kac, E., 2001. Genesis (2001). [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Prophet, J., 2004. Silver Heart (2004).  [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 26 Oct. 2016].

Vidani, P.,2016, The Human Super-organism (2015) [image] Available at: < > [Accessed: 26 October 2016].


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