Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Boundary Expeditions: Strategies for Creative Research at the Interface of Art and Life Science
Gabriel Harp
2nd Author
3rd Author
MFA Art & Design
Number of Pages
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Thesis Supervisor
Satoru Takahashi, Jay Lemke
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
design, interdisciplinary, life science, cybernetics, relational aesthetics, boundary objects, network entrepreneurship, systems art
Abstract: 200-500 words
Using a set of heuristics to suggest new possibilities and modes of action, my goal is to facilitate synthesis among the disciplines of art, design, and biology. I employ a systems approach to art, which seeks to integrate the development of better decision making with creative arts behaviors. I import the concepts of relational aesthetics, boundary objects, and network entrepreneurship from different disciplines as ideas of value, form, and behavioral strategy, respectively. These serve as first approximations for the ideation and implementation of creative work in conjunction with life science research. These design strategies take into account differences among the disciplines and draw from previous work in interdisciplinary pedagogy, cybernetics, organizational strategy, art history, and social semiotics. This work is intended to aid in the formation of educational and organizational objectives and positive solutions at the interfaces of art, design, and life science. After describing and discussing these design strategies, I narrate my experiences with four projects concerned with the integration of multiple disciplines and epistemological traditions (Organelle View, Engaging Evolution, Genomic Cinema, and Sui Generis). These projects formed the basis for my thinking about the aforementioned design strategies and their potential usefulness as heuristics for teaching and learning. I do not provide an analytical reading of my creative work's adherence to these heuristics. Instead, my narrative account is intended as an historical record of the social and methodological factors that influenced the work. I conclude with an exploratory model for the maintenance of art behaviors in dynamic evolutionary contexts.