Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

26-28 November 2020, University of Applied Arts Vienna/Online

15. Junk art – the art which needs to be understood
Session: Session "NSP2 / Brute"
Speakers: Karolina Żyniewicz

Thierry Bardini in his book titled Junkware proposed that the apt name for contemporary art would be junk art. He analyzed a few bio projects like Microvenus by Joe Davis or Genesis by Eduardo Kac stressing the important change which is taking place in art: 

(...) on an interesting new twist on the history of art, the visible has given way to the readable, 

(...) the aesthetic posture requires the explanatory discourse of the artist. (Bardini 2011, p.203). 

According to the knowledge from the area of STS (Knorr Cetina, Latour), production of knowledge is based on multilevel translations. Art based on science can be seen as a kind of translation as well. Production of biological knowledge and bio art can look quite similar, being based on the same protocols. However, something interesting is happening on the level of bio art projects presentations in galleries or museums. The audience is not familiar with the process of laboratory work which results in something akin to getting just one layer of translation cake. What is the role of an institution in making junk art readable? What does being lost in translation mean in this context? 

In order to answer this question I would like to share my experiences from performative killing of my cells (immortalized B lymphocytes) which took place at the opening of exhibition Beyond borders. Processed body — expanded brain — distributed agency in Gallery Łaźnia in Gdańsk (18.12.2019).

Karolina Żyniewicz

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