Potential  Contributions of Bioartists to Research


Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual Information Arts, San Francisco State University.[1]


Artists as Researchers


The arts are searching for an appropriate role in an era dominated by technological and scientific research.  Many artists are becoming active in research areas but the approaches they take vary widely. One response positions artists as consumers of the new tools, using them to create new images, sounds, video, and events; another response sees artists emphasizing the critical functions of art to comment on the developments from the distance; a final approach urges artists to enter into the heart of research as core participants, developing their own research agendas and undertaking their own investigations. My book Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology[2] surveys artists around the world working as researchers in many areas of science and technology.  This essay explores that approach as it pertains specifically to bioarts, seeking to enhance understanding of how exactly artists might contribute to research.  First it reviews the challenges of opportunities of artists functioning as researchers; next it reviews a few bioart projects from this perspective; and finally it considers one of my own installations, Protozoa Games. The bioarts are seen as especially important because of the revolutionary potential impact of this research in the next decades.


Currently there is great interest around the world in exploring the value of artistsÕ involvement in the research process.  Several major policy studies have promoted the idea Ð See for example Michael NaimarkÕs report to the Rockefeller Foundation  ÒTruth, Beauty, Freedom, and Money  Technology-Based Art and the Dynamics of SustainabilityÓ[3] and the  U.S. National Academy of ScienceÕs report ÒBeyond Productivity: Information Technology, Innovation, and CreativityÓ[4].  In addition governmental and private arrangements have offered support to this involvement of the arts in research  Ð for example the Canadian Research Council[5], the Artists in the Lab Program[6] (Switzerland),  the Interactive Institute[7] (Sweden), Arts Catalyst[8] and Wellcome Trust Competitions[9] (UK), and Symbiotica[10] (Australia).  Some of the rationales are pragmatic (artists will contribute valuable new ideas that will result in better research or development.)  Some are more global (the culture at large will be enriched by the confluence of these ideas from diverse disciplines.)


Although it focuses on Information Technology, the National AcademyÕs "Beyond Productivity" document offers this summary of its findings that art and design can greatly enhance research.


Creativity plays a crucial role in culture; creative activities provide personal, social, and educational benefit; and creative inventions (Òbetter recipes, not just more cookingÓ) are increasingly recognized as key drivers of economic development. But creativity takes different forms at different times and in different places. This report argues that, at the beginning of the 21st century, information technology (IT) is forming a powerful alliance with creative practices in the arts and design to establish the exciting new domain of information technology and creative practicesÑITCP. There are major benefits to be gained from encouraging, supporting, and strategically investing in this domainÉ.

ITCP can constitute an important domain of research. It is inherently exploratory and inherently transdisciplinary. Concerned at its core with how people perceive, experience, and use information technology, ITCP has enormous potential for sparking reconceptualization and innovation in IT. In execution, it pushes on the boundaries of both IT and the arts and design. Computer science has always been stimulated by exposure to new points of view and new problems, which are ever-present in the arts and design. Because of the breadth of use to which artists and designers put different forms of IT, and because they typically are not steeped in conventional IT approaches, artistsÕ and designersÕ perspectives on tools and applications may provide valuable insights into the needs of other kinds of IT users. The needs and wants of artists and designers can suggest new ways of designing and implementing IT. Engaging their perspectives is a logical extension of recent trends in cross-disciplinary computer science research.

Recently, for example, artists and designers have brought new concerns to the design and implementation of sensor systems, distributed control systems and actuators, generative processes and virtual reality, and the Internet and other networks. Their interests in performance and in engaging the public present challenges for system interactivity; their interests in improvisation present new opportunities for exploring human-machine interaction. Although artists and computer scientists have long interacted in such spheres as computer graphics and music, almost any form of IT may be adopted or adapted for uses in the arts and design. This flexibility of purpose parallels the plasticity of the computer itselfÑand that helps to explain why artistsÕ concerns may motivate new combinations as well as new forms of IT...


It is a remarkable time.  In spite of the great conviction about the worth of such arrangements there is not much concrete evidence.  The documentation that does exist (for example, Craig Harris book Art and Innovation[11] which collected essays on the artist-in-residency program at Xerox PARC) is somewhat elusive.  Almost all participants acclaimed the value but there was little concrete evidence of the payoff of the collaborations.  Similarly the research for my book Information Arts documented a great amount of fascinating involvement of artists in science and technology related research but was not able to investigate in depth the processes by which art might enrich the research process.


Perhaps we must just live with this ambiguity for a while.  For example, the Bioart artists working on the frontiers of biological research certainly seem to be doing culturally significant work.  Their contribution to art and to general cultural discourse about the research is easy to identify. They are questioning the conceptual frameworks, deconstructing the language used, and unveiling the web of connections between this research and larger cultural structures. Presumably any audience that encounters this work (including those who work as professional researchers) will become more thoughtful about the cultural implications of research.    Art audiences applaud the provocation and engagement their work produces.  These artistsÕ specific impact on scientific research and technological development is less clear.  Indeed, what would constitute a contribution and by whose definition?  Maybe it is not important that the art have an impact directly on the research world?  But the claim of relevance is part of the justifying rationales fueling the initiatives listed above. There is not room here for a definitive resolution of these questions.  Hopefully this essay and the others included in this collection can advance the discussion.


This essay, then, has a very limited scope. It does not analyze the general impact of the art works in the larger culture. Rather it offers a preliminary investigation more specifically at how the works might impact the research world and its practitioners in a more concrete way. How might art enrich research?  My book Information Arts suggested several places in the classic research process that might benefit.  Here are few suggestive examples:


Artists might assign different priorities to various research agendas

Artists might ask different research questions

Artists might help deconstruct unacknowledged assumptions in the frameworks that guide research

Artists might challenge standard research procedures or invent new ones

Artists might discover new knowledge or invent new technologies

Artists might interpret results differently

Artists might invent new ways to extract understanding via information visualization

Artists might identify cultural implications of research results missed by other researchers


The next section reviews a few examples of artists working with biology in order to examine ways artists contribute to research.  Note that this is a very small selection of artists and that it concentrates on those working with genetics, stem cells, and invertebrates.  It does not consider for example, artists working with larger animals, human bodies, medical technology, or ecology.


Example of ArtistsÕ Projects in Bioarts


Imagining New Creatures - Bioengineering:  Several artists have become intrigued with the challenge of envisioning life as it might be.  Art has a long history working with fantastic creatures and chimeras Ð see for example, Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali.  With the advent of genetic engineering the old dream of inventing creatures begins to enter the realm of possible.  At this stage of technology development there are profound questions about the wisdom and ethics of pursuing these inquiries Ð for example, do we know enough about the biology or understand the unforeseen consequences of this work?  Still scientists and businesses are rushing forward to initiate research in creation of modified species for the sake of increasing scientific knowledge, for noble causes such as curing disease or overcoming famine, or for economic reasons of creating new products.


Let us assume for a moment that the questions about safety of bioengineering begin to be answered and that the trajectory of technological development continues to create more accessible and economical equipment for genetic engineering.  The society will face major questions of what it should do with this technology.  What new creatures should researchers create?  Are medicine and economics the only justifications?  Already a company in the United States is offering the ÒGlofishÓ, a genetically modified luminescent fish as a pet.  Are not curiosity and art important research rationales? Are genetically modified square tomatoes, created in order to facilitate shipping economics more worthwhile than creatures created for art?   Artists may well have critical roles in the definition of research agendas for investigating new creatures.


Artists, like most outside the biological research world, are not yet active in creating genetically modified creatures. We are, however, seeing the beginning of this work by artists.  French artist Louis Bec[12] is famous for his long standing interest in Hypozoologie.  Even before genetic engineering had reached is present stage of development, Bec felt artists had an important role in imagining life as it might be.  Using computer modeling he generated animals out of his imagination.


Others have actually arranged to engineer new organisms.  Eduardo KacÕs Alba project[13] embedded florescent genes in a rabbit.  The Critical Art EnsembleÕs New Eve[14] project embedded human gene sequence in the bacteria that produced beer and then invited audience members to drink it.   Laura CintiÕs transgenic cactus[15] project modified a cactus so it grew human hair.


Many audiences consider these kinds of projects objectionable or frivolous.  Since the art agendas are well documented elsewhere, this essay focuses on the implications for the research world.  It is not likely a biological researcher would dream up these projects.  This stretching of the conceptualization of kinds of creatures that can be generated is itself a service.  It induces researchers to think beyond utilitarian goals that dominate their disciplines. Also, unanticipated insights might be generated from the process of pursuing such unorthodox goals. The usefulness of this kind of incidental knowledge is discussed below in the summary.


Artists might be able to contribute even more if they can overcome the obstacle of access.  Genetic engineering is still an esoteric research area with limitations on who is qualified to do it.  Most artists have not yet acquired that knowledge and certification necessary to become independent researchers.  Those who have worked with bioengineering often have had to contract researchers to do the actual work. Artists such as Cinti and Kac have indicated that this alienation was unfortunate; they felt they lost a certain critical control and access. At this early stage, these arrangements may be inevitable. Historically intimate contact of artists with the materials being worked with has enhanced artistic productivity and creativity - especially in new technology based art..   Eventually, artists will need to arrange to get certified so they can have the hands-on involvement that is key to stimulating the artistic imagination and tinnovation.


Embedding Messages in  Genetic Sequences:  DNA is tremendously effective for storing genetic information.  Furthermore mitosis (cell splitting) provides a natural process for creation of copies.  Starting early on, several artists imagined using genetic engineering to embed messages into gene sequences.  For example, Joe Davis' Microvenus[16] developed a mapping scheme for encoding the graphics representing a Germanic rune representing the female Earth into a bacteria's genetic sequence of bases.  He called these infogenes.  Eduardo Kac's Genesis[17] project encoded the some lines from the biblical story of Genesis into bacterial sequences. 


These projects explore interesting issues of ways genetics can be used to carry other messages.  They also illustrate artistsÕ abilities to envision and work on new possibilities.  Fifteen years ago DavisÕ first proposals were considered strange and did not have many precedents. Now the research world is developing related inquiries.  For example, researchers are working on bacterial memory and biological computing which will use gene sequence encoding as a method of emulating digital computing functions.  It is possible that researchers and artists working in these fields might enrich each other's investigations.



Breeding and Selection:  Humans engaged a form of genetic engineering long before the current research era as breeders of animals and plants.  Some analysts critique contemporary biology for not paying sufficient attention to this storehouse of folk knowledge.  Breeders accumulated significant information about genetic potential within particular species and the limitations and possibilities of particular cross breeding.  They also have knowledge about the way context can affect the expression of particular genes.


A few artists have worked with breeding as a focus.  For example, George GessertÕs many-year Iris projects[18] (for example, Scatter) have produced extraordinary varieties of this flower and information about how these effects can be achieved and the limitations of what can be done. Christopher Ebener & Uli Winters Byte[19] project attempted to breed mice with a proclivity for chewing on computer cables.  Andrea ZettlÕs Breeding[20] series explores various breeding sculptures including one that bred chickens with a proclivity for flying.  Each of these projects were undertaken for primarily artistic reasons, not to study the biology of inheritance, yet they might well have produced information useful to the scientific community.


Experiments:  Experiments are a core in the sciences.  Typically they seek to understand the effects of various "treatments" on classes of subjects.  For example, organisms are systematically subjected to chemical or environmental manipulations in order to determine the effects.  Several artists are working within this paradigm. 


For example, Adam Zaretsky created events in which he tested the effects of different kinds of music on the antibiotic production of selected strains of E. coli bacteria[21].  He found that Engleberk Humperdinck music caused the bacteria to produce the most antibiotic.  Although Zaretsky undertook this project for artistic reasons, it potentially has value to biologists.  The wacky idea that performer might influence E.coli behavior is a fresh idea some might want to pursue although they would no doubt want to create more controlled experiments to understand what specifically the effect came from.


Joe Davis has a many year project where the sound goes the other way.  His Audio Microscope[22] listens to the movements of single celled animals.  He claims that he can almost identify species based on their sound signatures.  Again the idea is provocative and waiting for follow-up.


Paul VanouseÕs Relative Velocity Inscription Device[23] provides another example of an artist breaking new research ground.  Vanouse created this project to comment on the assumptions that underlie much genetics research.  Using his familyÕs multi-racial background as a source, he extracted DNA samples from different members and subjected them to electrophoresis.  This standard genetics research technique is typically used to differentially separate DNA segments by subjecting them to electrostatic fields to which different kinds base sequences move to different degrees.  In this metaphoric art event Vanouse created a horserace like event in viewers could see which family membersÕ DNA moved furthest and fastest when subjected to electrophoresis.   The demands of the art installation required Vanouse to invent new kind of electrophoresis equipment which worked more quickly and which was bigger than any available from standard lab supply sources.  Thus the artist functioned as technological innovator creating an unprecedented device, which may one day have value in other research.


Natalie JeremijenkoÕs One Tree[24] project is another art experiment with potentially useful information.  In a multi-faceted project she arranged for 1000 genetically identical trees to be cloned of the species Paradox Walnut.  The seedlings were then subjected to identical environmental conditions (light, water, nutrients, etc) as they were growing.  When the seedlings reached a certain level of maturity they were given to volunteers who each proposed to plant them in some specific location(s) they had selected.  These locations, situated throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, varied tremendously in environmental qualities - for example, microclimate, soil qualities, topography, sunlight situation, and human environment.  The project proposed to document the conditions and progress of the seedlings.  For some of the plantings the project proposed to collect information about variables such as sunlight and carbon dioxide in the seedlings' environments and provide for real time webcam monitoring.


The relative importance of genetics and environmental influences is of course a contested issue in critiques of science.  One Tree is unusual in that it proposes to address this debate through a quasi-experiment.  All the seedlings have identical genetic pedigrees.  Presumably any ultimate variations can be attributable to environmental conditions.  I was present at one of the early shows of the project at the Yerba Buena Art Center.  An array of seedlings were presented systematically arranged on tables under apparently identical grow lights. Even at this early stage the genetically identical siblings were already showing significant variability in size, leafing, robustness, and the like.  This 'experiment' provided a striking commentary on the nature/nurture controversy and its power came in part from the willingness of the artist to adopt some of the protocols of science to investigate the issue.


Stem-cell and Near-life Research: Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr have undertaken to investigate stem cells as part of the artistic work of their group Symbiotica[25].  The artists work with animal stem cells (multipotent cells that can develop in a variety of tissue directions depending on conditions) to create 'sculptures'.  They use these cells to grow tissue into forms they selected for artistic and conceptual reasons.  This work requires them to confront unprecedented scientific challenges addressed only by a few biological researchers.  For example, they had to figure out ways to provide nourishment to growing cells and new ways of providing lattices to guide growth in the patterns they wanted.


These investigations are another example of artists undertaking work that typically would be conducted by engineers or scientists in more conventional settings.  The artistic agenda demanded they develop unorthodox skills and understandings necessary to complete the work.  In doing so, they potentially add to the knowledge in this emerging field similarly to the way other researchers might.


Furthermore, the unorthodox demands of artistic production and exhibition can result in unexpected knowledge.  Symbiotica has shown the tissue culture work at Ars Electronica and in museums around the world.  Typically stem cell research is conducted in clean lab conditions (as is called for by the scientific canon).  Although Symbiotica typically constructs lab-like settings as part of their installations, they rarely can control all factors.  Catts tells amusing stories about the cigarette smoke that fills the environment in art shows in a way that would horrify traditional lab technicians.  Interestingly, Catts notes that there is some evidence that the smoke encourages growth in some tissue cells.  This unexpected finding is another example of the potential for incidental learning in art research settings.



Protozoa Games


Description of Installation:   I created an interactive installation called Protozoa Games[26].  A series of events allowed humans and protozoa to engage together.  A digital microscope tracked the activities of live single celled animals called Stentor and projected the images on a large screen.  At the same time humans were invited to engage in various movement 'games' in the space in front of the screen.


Motion detection technology tracked the movements of the protozoa and the humans. The computer orchestrated a series of events in which protozoa actions influenced the humans and others where humans tried to influence the protozoa.  With success at synchronization, lights flashed, electornic sound, and computer animations were composed that simulated the media environment of pinball machines.


The installation investigated a variety of themes: Human relationships with animals, the ethics of animal and human experimentation, the nature of intelligence and consciousness, and reflections on the essence of life.  Protozoa, as highly evolved single-celled animals allow a unique perspective on these issues.  The game setup structurally emulated typical animal experimentation forms.


Protozoa Games and Research:  Protozoa Games explores several issues relevant to thinking about artistsÕ relationship to research Ð in areas such as observation and experimentation.  Science highly values observation of nature.  Some consider that care of observation and thinking about what is observed as its essential core.  I was concerned that as we entered the era of biology, few outside of biology had experiences of careful observation of other life forms - especially those outside of normal everyday human encounters such as pets.


New inexpensive digital microscopes were becoming available which made the microworlds, which were usually the domain of biologists, available to the larger public.  For example, Intel had introduced a surprisingly functional QX3 microscope as part of its thinking toys series.  I saw this technology as an opportunity and challenge.  How could I build an art installation that incorporated observation of microorganisms as one of its focuses?


Observation of  colonies of protozoa going about their lives, revealed the remarkable complexity and variety of their behaviors.  Like many others, I considered them 'simple' animals.  I was amazed at the different characteristics of movement they manifested.  My preconceptions were challenged as individuals in the sample showed very different reactions to each other and to objects in their environment. It was easy to anthropomorphize them.  They varied in how curious, aggressive, shy or lethargic they seemed.   In spite of being single-celled, these protozoa were quite sophisticated.  I imagined that this process of observing protozoa and considering their behaviors was not very different from the way a biologist might approach them.  Like a scientist studying a species, I tried to focus on what I was seeing and theorized about its causes and implications.  I wondered if I could understand them well enough to predict their behavior.


Humanity is notorious for its demeaning attitudes toward animals.  I wondered if an art work focused on appreciation of the protozoa life forms (as symbolic for animals in general) might have some impact.    How was I going to get the visitors to engage in processes of observation similar to what I had done?  I devised an interactive game called 'Follow Me'.  I projected live video of the protozoa world from the microscope into the installation space.  I set up a movement space in front of the microscope.  Using motion detection technology, the installation tracked the movements of the protozoa and the visitors.  The pinball-like game rewarded the interactor with points, flashing lights, animations and sounds to the extent their movements mimicked the movements of the protozoa.  Those who observed the protozoa carefully in order to understand and predict their behavior did better than those who didn't.    I suspect it was the first time many of the audience had ever looked at protozoa and noted the complexity of their motion.


A second game called 'Control-Me' invited the audience to devise simple experiments that tested methods of influencing the behavior of the protozoa.  In this event the computer superimposed a target over the live video of the protozoa.  Interactors could get points, turn on lights, etc to the extent the protozoa went into the target area.  The installation provided a set of simple tools for trying to coax protozoa motion.  Visitors could turn on red or green lights located on either side of the microscope slide where the protozoa lived.  Also there were voice-transmitting plastic tubes on either side of the slide into which visitors could speak to influence the protozoa - for example by singing or yelling.  Some visitors became very intent on experimenting with various strategies to influence the protozoa. 


This setup replicates some of the classic components of an experiment that might be set up to test sensitivity of protozoa to various stimuli.  Although it was undertaken for artistic purposes (for example, stimulating thought about animal experimentation in general and about the relative importance of human will in the lives of animals), it might well have generated some valid insights about the sensitivities of this protozoa species.  A preliminary search of the literature found no articles with results from experiments testing sensitivity to these stimuli except a few testing general photo sensitivity.  As described for other art installations above, it is possible new understandings about protozoa life could result from this event.


The next project in this series, tentatively called Guests Parasites, and Symbiants, confronts a serious technological challenge.  It seeks to allow visitors to play games with live protozoa immediately acquired from their bodies at the time of their visit.  It seeks an automated, safe, non-invasive way to get the sample without the intervention of a lab assistant. Preliminary research indicates that such a technology does not yet exist, and I will be required to invent it in order to realize the event.  I will have to act as a technology innovator.


Summary: Artists as Contributors to Research 


This essay explores the assertion that artists working in the confluence of art and science/technology can beneficially influence research - for example, by introducing new research questions, inventing new technologies, undertaking experiments, or gathering new knowledge. It has concentrated on artists actually engaging research processes in their work.


Of course all art can have an indirect impact on research. For example, artists working conceptually with critiques of science or biology can create works that lead viewers to new insights about the position of science in culture or the meta-narratives shaping research.  It would be hoped that those in the audience who work in science or technology might be moved to incorporate something from the encounters into their professional life. 


This brief survey, however, has looked at potentially more direct influences.  The projects described raise a variety of issues about just how this influence might work. The research for my book Information Arts suggested that technological innovators were more willing to accept ideas and work from outsiders than the scientists were.  Anyone who has a good idea or can solve a problem of interest is welcome to technology developers.  Scientists seemed more concerned with certification and fit within conventional paradigms. They seemed quick to deny the value of contributions from those outside their disciplines.


Out of Control Ð the Paradoxical Value of Violating Conventions:   I suspect many scientists would be aghast at the projects described.  They would deny the scientific value of the work. They would note the violation of sound scientific practice and the ÒamateurishÓ quality.  The experimental situations would be seen as insufficiently controlled.  They would protest that there were too many contaminating variables, not enough care in setting up the treatments, and not sufficient documentation to allow others to replicate or make judgments about the protocols.  They would decry the lack of systematic theoretical framework for design of the events or for evaluating their results.


For example, before any scientist could accept data from ÔProtozoa GamesÕ about the effect of stimuli on protozoa they would need much more specific information about the nature and condition of the test protozoa used (for example, their exact species, their age, their living conditions, etc.) Also they would need details about the stimuli (for example, what intensity of the lights, what color temperature, and how they were positioned.) 


Protozoa Games (like all the other projects described) was never intended  as a scientific experiment; it had other purposes  Nonetheless, there might well be information that would be suggestive for scientific follow-up.  The art experiments described in this essay were undertaken by people who had taken the time to acquire varying levels of literacy in scientific areas of interest.  Amateurish is an interesting term.  It comes from the latin root amo (love).  It originally referred to people who undertook activities because they loved them; only later did the term acquire connotations of inferior.    European science of the 18th and 19th century depended greatly on the accomplishments of amateurs.  Contemporary science could benefit from finding a way to accommodate and utilize the activities of the art researchers.  Paradoxically, their violation of the canon and their wackiness may be part of their contribution by asking unorthodox questions and utilizing non-standard procedures.


In some ways this failure of Western Science to find ways to incorporate research outside the canon is part of a larger multicultural critique.  Some sociologists and philosophers of science have noted Western science's blindness to the folk expertise available in many cultures.  See for example Science and Other Cultures: Diversity in the Philosophy of Science and Technology [27]edited by Robert Figueroa and Sandra Harding. In traditional societies practitioners have centuries of observation and practice in fields such as biology, medicine, geology, and agriculture. Western science is too quick to dismiss and devalue this knowledge and lacks ways to integrate it with its own practice.


Incidental Knowledge:   Increasing scientific knowledge is not one of the prime goals for these projects.  Similarly, commercial viability is often not a goal for those artists who invent new technologies.  These accomplishments are incidental to the artistic goals.  Science and technological development have a long history of accidental discovery. Artistic research can contribute to this kind of discovery.  For example, those working to realize new creatures will likely need to overcome procedural obstacles different from peers pursuing more mainstream inquiries.  This knowledge can be a valuable resource.


There is a problem, however, in harvesting this information. In the sciences, documentation of the research process is a part of the canon.  Research papers go to great pains to describe the details of how activities were undertaken and what was observed.  These details are seen as essential for colleagues who seek to learn from the activities.  They also review previous related research to place the current work in context.


This kind of documentation is often not generated in the arts.  Artists are typically quite generous in sharing insights, solutions to problems, new tools they developed, technical information, etc on an ad hoc basis but documentation of these details is typically not part of the documentation of art events.  Should it be? Might not this kind of information become an important part of exchange among artists as they move into technical and scientific investigations? Might it not become part of the exchange between the arts and science/technology? For many years the Journal Leonardo has served as an archive for this kind of information and now many artistsÕ web sites include these details.  The future of art as an independent zone of research may depend on development of ways of sharing and archiving this information.


What is Required to Maximize ArtistsÕ Contributions :  This paper has surveyed some bioart projects in which artists directly engaged in technology or scientific research.  In some of them artists needed to invent new technologies or research procedures which might have application in other settings.  In others artists pursued unorthodox research agendas, gathered information about phenomena, or initiated research studies that might ultimately be of interest to scientists working in related fields.   The survey demonstrated that both the arts and sciences would need to make changes to maximize the potential of this cross fertilization.  The details of how these processes might work still require much investigation.


Artists would need to continue to educate themselves about the scientific literature in fields of interest and to acquire high level skills and knowledge necessary to become active practitioners in research.  They would need to at least consider classic techniques scientists use for design of experiments, which allow for clarity about results.  Also, artists would need to consider more careful documentation of their research so it might be useful for others outside the arts.


Scientists would need to find a way to open themselves to contributions by researchers outside their disciplines.  They would need to find a way to temporarily suspend the rigidity of their expectations about following protocol in order to entertain the value of unorthodox research questions, practices, findings and technologies coming from outside.  They would need to consider the value of a parallel art research community composed of individuals with active creativity, high levels of literacy in related fields,  and a willingness to engage actively in research even though it might be pursing questions which seem wacky, irrelevant, frivolous or in bad taste and might be conducted in ways considered strange or careless. Indeed a radical self doubt and appetite for alternatives is supposed to be a core value of science.   The parallel world art research could be seen as and institutionalized way of filling this function.

[1] For more details about Stephen Wilson writings, art works, and contact information, see the website http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson/

[2] Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology MIT Press, 2002

[3]  http://www.artslab.net

[4] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/cstb/pub_creativity.html

[5] http://www.canadacouncil.ca/grants/interarts/ccsh01-e.asp

[6] http://www.artistsinlabs.ch.

[7] http://www.interactiveinstitute.se/

[8] http://www.artscatalyst.org/

[9] http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/sci.html

[10] http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au

[11] Harris, Craig ed. Art and Innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1997

[12] http://framework.v2.nl/archive/archive/node/actor/default.xslt/nodenr-65851

[13] http://www.ekac.org/transgenicindex.html

[14] http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/DRAM/44-4/pdf/cae_cult.pdf

[15] http://www.geocities.com/transgenicart

[16] http://www.thegatesofparadise.com/joe_davis.htm

[17] http://www.ekac.org/transgenicindex.html

[18] http://indigo.ie/~circa/c90/supple/8.html

[19] http://home.t-online.de/home/uli.winters/

[20] http://www.zittel.org/

[21] http://www.emutagen.com

[22] http://www.thegatesofparadise.com/joe_davis.htm

[23] http://www.gene-sis.net/artists_vanouse.html

[24] http://www.onetrees.org/

[25] http://www.tca.uwa.edu.au

[26] http://userwww.sfsu.edu/%7Eswilson/art/protozoagames/protogames10.html

[27] Figueroa, Robert and Sandra Harding Science and Other Cultures: Diversity in the Philosophy of Science and Technology. Routledge.  London, 2002