Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ars Chimera

"Ars Chimaera is a field of artistic creativity, which purposefully rearranges new genetic combinations that do not exist in nature, in order to produce organisms with specified heritable aesthetic characteristics. This field of creativity is based on the use of certain genetic and biochemical methods in contemporary art practice, among them neogenesis (correcting the genetic code by exerting influence of amino acids that, though existing in nature, have never been used by terrestrial forms of life to form an organism), degenesis (knock-out of the genes or genetic structures to obtain new characteristics of an organism), and transgenesis (removal – or artificial synthesis – of genes or genetic structures from the cells of an organism and their implantation into the cells of different organisms). In spite of the fact that the first artistic experience based on the synthesis of the E.coli bacterium DNA date as far back as 1986, [1] attempts to formulate terminological definitions of so-called transgenic art occurred only recently. [2] This is hardly surprising as the applied component of science is actually much more highly developed than the theoretical comprehension of scholarly problems – today definitions require additional consideration proceeding from the results of research (in neogenesis, for instance). Besides, a definition such as "chimerical" seems more acceptable to all concerned because it is polysemantic, [3] the variety of its meanings helping widen its terminological and semantic scope as the described artistic practice is interpreted in different ways. As a result, the definition incorporates diverse energetics, and obtains a thoroughness of interpretation to counterbalance plain explanation of the method. Until recently chimerical art practice was a marginal activity of aesthetically-minded scholars and those artists who had abandoned the traditional art space for that of the natural sciences, while today it is in the process of finding a visual artistic and contextual outline. International authorship, the ever-widening geography of grounds for discussions and displays, an ever-increasing number of publications and thematic editions show a significant increase in interest not only in media-phenomena, but also in the suggested range of social and artistic representational tools. Along with this, one cannot but agree that the chimerical trend as a tendency remains practically illegal, being neither organised, nor finished in its concept, terminology and communicative practice – there are no special periodicals, electronic deliveries, regular conferences etc. Nothing is left but the belief that as soon as the "descriptive" stage is over, the stage of institutional legalisation and the trend’s research will not keep us waiting. The "descriptive" stage should be concluded both as a "narration" about Ars Chimaera, and as a narration, which is provided by the trend proper – one that helps it exist in the realm of art."
-- Dmitry Bulatov, Ars Chimaera.

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