VivoArts: Art and Biology Studio - Wet Lab Practice and Bio-Art Pedagogy

Lecturer: Adam Zaretsky, bio-artist, US
Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History. This course aimed at introducing students to issues and concepts relating to contemporary arts practices dealing with living biological systems (sometimes referred to as wet biology, art practice, Bioart, environmental art, body art, breeding practices). Emphasis was placed on developing critical thought, ethical issues and cross-disciplinary experimentation in art (art/science collaborations, art as research). Students were introduced to biological lab practices and were expected to get their hands wet! This course focused on recent advances in the Life Sciences, both in theory and practice. Participants focused on molecular biology, tissue culture, genomics, developmental biology and the social implications of these new potential developments.

The goal of this course was to create an open-ended interface between life and the arts. In the interests of keeping all expressive options open, the focus of the class iwas not on the logic of the biologic, but on our cultural relationships to the world of life, with all their contradictions and illogicalities.  The interfaces between human society and the ecosphere are identified, rethoughtand collaged together to form signs of definitional breakdown. Some initial categories for treating to artistic xenophilia: Food, Nature, Laboratory, Our Bodies and Pets. By defining where and how we interface with these life forms and by mixing these logics, we arrive at unusual conceptual re-evaluations. Vivoarts was a studio art and science crossover lab intended to aid students from various disciplines in their own exploration of the interfaces between art and life.

For more information see 

Download a detailed description of the programme (pdf file, 58 KB)