“Telepresence and Bio Art“
Today, 6:30 p.m., free
Davis Veterans Memorial Theater (203 E. 14th St.)
Artist Eduardo Kac will also speak on campus today at 4 p.m. in 3001 Plant Environmental Science. The event is free.
The Art/Science Fusion program will present cutting-edge artist Eduardo Kac with “Telepresence and Bio Art” today at the Davis Veterans Memorial Theater, located on 203 E. 14th St. in Davis. The event will take place tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Kac will speak about his recent work as well as current and future projects involving telepresence and transgenic art.
The program is putting on the event as the third presentation in the four-part Consilience of Art and Science speaker series, which aims to unite the two disciplines.
“Our program promotes environmental literacy through art,” said Diane Ullman, co-founder of the Art/Science Fusion Program, in an e-mail interview. “This learning model brings together many elements of experiential education, including project-based learning and service learning. The students create artworks that express their learning from lectures.“
Another informal question and answer session with Kac will take place today at 4 p.m. in room 3001 in the Plant Environmental Science Building.
Kac, a Chicago resident and Rio de Janeiro native, is largely known for his biology and technology-based artwork. One of his notable interests is transgenic art, which Kac describes on his website as artwork “based on the use of genetic engineering techniques,” which transfers synthetic genes or natural genetic material “from one species into another, to create unique living beings.“
Many of Kac’s transgenic works have drawn considerable controversy. His notable and provocative “Alba” combined a rabbit with the green florescent protein of a jellyfish, which caused the rabbit to glow green when exposed to a certain exposure of blue light.
Another previous work translates a specific line from the book of Genesis into Morse code, which was then transformed into DNA base pairs. The base pairs were later used to create a display of bacteria that could be biologically altered under ultraviolet light.
“The controversy is a phenomenon of reception, not creation,” Kac said in an e-mail interview. “We would have to ask why a particular audience in a given place and time reacts in a certain way, while others don’t.“
When asked about the seemingly separate fields of art and science, department of plant sciences staff member Anne Davidson said that art serves as a media for expanding science to a wider audience.
“It’s a form of free media,” Davidson said. “For instance, we’re bombarded every day with forms of propaganda through billboards, television and radio advertisements – all this junk. Art is accessible to all of us and can be used to interpret and communicate all kinds of free-thinking messages, including important scientific topics that may not reach all audiences through scientific literature.“
Kac, on the other hand, said his commitment is to his vision and art and not to the mission of dispersing science to a broader public.
“There are specialized professionals that dedicate their careers to the issue of how best to communicate issues to an audience,” Kac said. “This is not my field. Art is not at the service of science, just as science is not at the service of art. As an artist, I work with the media of my time. Having said that, dialogue among different disciplines, on equal footing, is always wonderful.“
Davidson highlighted the importance of incorporating both science and creative thinking into everyday life.
“Science and arts are like two wonders of the world that need to be shared, need to be crossed [and] need to be hybridized, in order to be able to gain a fuller understanding of both,” Davidson said.
For more information, visit artsciencespeakers.ucdavis.edu or ekac.org.
JUSTIN T. HO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.