Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Implications for Artistic Expressions and Representations of corporeality of the Experimental Techniques of Biomedical Engineering
Patricia L. Adams
2nd Author
3rd Author
Doctor of Visual Arts
Number of Pages
Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
Thesis Supervisor
Assoc. Prof. Jay Younger
Supervisor e-mail
j.younger AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. Glenda Nalder
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Queensland College of Art, Faculty of Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
English & French
URL where full thesis can be found
Artworks accompanying the text plus descriptions:
corporeality, interactivity, immersive environments, sentience, consciousness, humanness, non-living, system/environments, art/science collaboration, human guinea-pig, stem cells, cardiac cells, re-interpretation, cultural critique, aesthetic enquiries, r
Abstract: 200-500 words
ABSTRACT While biological scientists justify their research into human genetic engineering on the grounds of its “therapeutic” potential, art - particularly the genre of science fiction (whose origins can be traced to Mary Shelly’s famous tale, Frankenstein) - has acted on the social through culture to alert us to the perilous repercussions of usurping the role of the “Creator of Life.” Now, at the dawn of the new millennium, the scientific project of mapping human DNA seemingly complete, the plight of the genetically-engineered human has become an intense focus of cultural critique. This research project can be differentiated by its focus on aesthetic inquiry into the implications for expressions and representations of corporeality in relation to contemporary biomedical engineering. It has incorporated stem cell research that entails the manipulation and redirection of adult stem cell fates. The methodology involves practical and theoretical investigations into cellular responses, and is framed within the matrices of both an innovative collaborative art/science research model and the evolving process of practice-led arts research. The exploratory research is discursively located within the system/environment paradigm. This allows for boundaries between the philosophic and scientific disciplines of: • epistemology • ethics and aesthetics • biology and technology to become nodes in a relational network associated with: • living and non-living • sentience and consciousness • conceptions of humanness The cycle of practice-led research culminates in a body of work that began with a project entitled apoptosis, and developed into a three part quasi-scientific vital force series of installations. Each of these installations references nineteenth century scientific experimental processes employed in a search for the essential components of the human being itself. The series of interactive installations is discussed and the processual, pioneering research model, whereby the artist becomes the “human guinea pig” is theoretically and visually articulated. In addition, time-lapse videomicrograph image data, collected through laboratory experiments is interpreted and recontextualised by the artist-researcher for representation in the vital force series of immersive installations. In these installations the implications of the issues raised by biomedical engineering processes are expressed as a very physical, tactile encounter. The aim is that these encounters engender a multi-sensory experience for the individual viewer, who, when immersed in the aesthetic, corporeal, interactive installations becomes a participant who completes the work through their engagement. Thus, the significance of the study lies in its re-privileging of the aesthetic experience of corporeality in the discourses surrounding genetic manipulation.