TABOO - TRANSGRESSION - TRANSCENDENCE
in Art & Science
27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta
The study of letters exchanged between artists can be a source of knowledge and delight to both readers and writers. Although communication processes have changed since the rise of electronic media, verbal personal narrative maintains its role and consistency as a demonstration of dedication and attention to detail. Most of us have succumbed to the speed and smoothness of telegraphic texting and short messaging, on the other hand sometimes it seems as if there is more to say both to the other and to ourselves. This revelation of a wider capacity to express intimacy is accompanied by the depth of personal syllogism and a predictable excitement while expecting the reply from the interlocutor. This presentation proposes to discuss the importance of epistolary as methodology in art-practice and practice-based research through the presentation of a case study involving the letters exchanged between three female bioartists during the year of 2020: Kathy High, Marta de Menezes and Jennifer Willet. A peek into the chronicles of women as they develop research in the field of art and science, the presentation has the objective to induce further discussion focusing on the body while touching topics related to health, aging, control and friendship.
Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist (Lisbon, 1975) with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, and a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford. She has been exploring the interaction between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies, DNA, proteins and live organisms can be used as an art medium. Her work has been presented internationally in exhibitions, and articles. She is since 2005 artistic director of Ectopia – Experimental Art Laboratory and from 2009 director of Cultivamos Cultura – Association.
Dr. Jennifer Willet is a Canada Research Chair in Art, Science, and Ecology and an Associate Professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor (Canada.) Willet is Director of INCUBATOR Lab an art/science research laboratory and studio in downtown Windsor. She is an internationally successful artist and curator in the emerging field of bioart. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field. www.incubatorartlab.com
Kathy High (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist / educator who collaborates with scientists, and considers living systems, animal sentience, and the ethical dilemmas of biotechnology and medical industries. She produces photographs, films, sculpture and installations posing queer and feminist questions into areas of bio-science that have been exhibited across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. High is Head and Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She has a laboratory at RPI’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and also is a supporter of community DIY science and ecological art practices. High is the project coordinator for a non-profit urban environmental center and community bio lab, NATURE Lab at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. Among many honors, she is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and Guggenheim Foundation.