Bio art is an art practice that falls under media art due to the mediums used to create it. The practice uses new technology such as scientific processes, genetic engineering, and tissue culture and cloning. Bio artist work with live tissue, bacteria, living organisms and life processes. It links art, science, medicine and technology together by investigating the environment where humans are evolving in response to the fast growth of biotechnology. This is shown in Orlan’s and Suzanne Anker’s works.
Orlan has used biotechnology through out the years in her artwork. She believes that her face and body is a canvas and applies cosmetic surgery to transform it. She highlights how the strong influence of technology is able to transform our physical appearance. In her piece “ The reincarnatiom of saint- Orlan” which started in the 1990’s she uses the surgeries to change her face to the feminine ideal depicted by male artist. The surgery was filmed and broadcasted throughout the world. When her surgeries are complete she’ll have the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, the nose of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Psyche, the lips of François Boucher’s Europa, the eyes of Diana and the forehead of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. She picked them “not for the cananons of beauty they represent…rather ton account of the stories associated with them”. The surgeries that are conducted is also a performance. Everyone in the room wears a costume and orlan uses props like a devils pitchfork.
Suzanne Anker combines art and science together through her concepts and mediums. It ranges from digital sculpture, installation, photography to plants grown using LED lights. She has her own bioArt lab in New York where she examines objects that have become icons of biology like chromosomes, MRI scans and Petri dishes. In her work “Vanitas in a Petri Dish” (2013) she pairs natural objects decaying and a petri dish as a 3d canvas. The purpose is to remind her audience of their own mortality and the cycle of life through the decaying objects. The work sparks the curiosity and diversity of new hybrid life forms scientist today are making with the petri dish.
The two works both involve biotechnology, which are a new media medium and the exploration of living organisms or tissue.
Artiste transmédia et féministe. Météorite narratif du BIO ART. Son oeuvre questionne le statut du CORPS dans la société. Ses sculptures, HYBRIDATIONS et autoportraits réinterprètent le rôle des nouvelles technologies.. (2016). Orlan.eu. Retrieved 28 October 2016, from http://www.orlan.eu/
Bio Art | SVA Bio Art Lab, BFA Fine Arts – New York City. (2016). Bioart.sva.edu. Retrieved 28 October 2016, from http://bioart.sva.edu/
Faces of Bioart: Bio-Icons with Suzanne Anker. (2016). Labiotech.eu. Retrieved 28 October 2016, from http://labiotech.eu/faces-of-bioart-bio-icons-with-suzanne-anker/
Orlan’s art of sex and surgery. (2016). the Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/jul/01/orlan-performance-artist-carnal-art