On Wednesday, March 19, BFA Fine Arts’ Nature and Technology Lab hosted a lecture by scientists in residence Ellen Jorgensen, PhD, and Oliver Medvedik, PhD. Jorgensen and Medvedik began their residency at the Nature and Technology lab in Fall 2013, conducting biomaterials workshops with BFA Fine Arts students. Their lecture introduced basic concepts of synthetic biology, including applied biotechnology, tissue engineering and gene manipulation. They also discussed the importance of making scientific knowledge and experimentation accessible to the public through educational community spaces. Jorgenson and Mendevik are both co-founders of Genspace, a DIY biolab in Brooklyn. Jorgensen outlined the ethos of the space, which facilitates experiments in biotechnology within a diverse community of scientists, artists, hobbyists, independent researches and interested neighbors.
Jorgensen stressed that she hopes to promote understanding among the general public in part to combat the stigma against genetic engineering. By bringing biotechnology into accessible spaces, and by providing information and practical training in bioengineering and biotechnology, Genspace encourages the support of progressive science. Genspace promotes a model of democratized science and, in the spirit of DIY, is free from the restrictions that come with a privately funded academic or professional lab. As part of their residency at SVA, Jorgensen and Medvedik will continue to work with students to realize artworks with the use of biomaterials and experimental creative methods.
For more information about the Nature and Technology lab at SVA visit bioart.sva.edu.