Emma Carley's blog

Rough Draft of Final

This is a VERY rough draft of my idea for my final. I'm thinking that I may need to choose a more specific topic (possibly focus on the development of the idea of designer babies). 

Working Title: Unnatural Selection


The Plasma Project

Even though I am a science major, understanding Walter Gekelman’s presentation was incredibly difficult. I’ve heard the phrase “plasma” mentioned before, but it was never really explained to me. After Dr. Gekelman’s lecture, I was only vaguely more informed about the nature of this fourth state of matter. I learned that matter becomes plasma when it is heated and the plasma forms rope-like structures that can interact with each other and can be measured and plotted when under the influence of a magnetic field.

DNA "Fingerprinting"

I learned about restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) in my life science class last quarter. It amazed me that a one-nucleotide change in DNA can help distinguish people with certain characteristics. A RFLP is a single base pair change in the DNA sequence that varies greatly among individuals. This change overlaps with regions of the DNA that code for a restriction site, or a specific palindromic sequence where a specific enzyme cuts the DNA, thus changes in this site determine if that fragment of DNA is cut.

Color Changing Plants (Midterm Idea&More!)

My midterm project is a perfect combination of many techniques and concepts that I have learned throughout my science classes, some of my favorite things about bioart, and my favorite color. I wanted to make a living piece because some of my favorite bioart pieces have been, in one way or another, alive, such as Pancreas and The Great Work of the Metal Lover. I also wanted to have a project that is useful. Many bioart projects that we have seen, such as Plantas Nómadas, have been useful in addressing environmental issues.

Art Teaches Science

Finally interacting with bioart in a hands-on way this week was an amazing experience! One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that bioart makes science accessible to those who do not necessarily come from that field. By interacting with each piece, I found that the scientific ideas incorporated into each piece were presented in a more creative and easy to understand manner. To understand many scientific ideas, some background in science is required.

Can Hox Animals Ever Exist?

I enjoyed eating my way through the Chinese zodiac this past week! After I got back home, I was describing the experience to one of my friends and she asked me what I thought the creature that I created by eating the “DNA” of the various animals would look like, and my imagination began to flow.

This is what I came up with:

My Hox animal :)

Bioart Continues to Amaze

After listening to Mick Lorusso’s presentation about the Wetware exhibit, I have a better understanding of the article by Jens Hauser that we read week one. One of the themes in Hauser’s article was the fact that bioart is hard to present due to the intense maintenance required to upkeep the exhibition. After hearing about some of the ways in which Wetware must be maintained, I have a much greater appreciation for all of the work that goes into making bioart available to the public.


As a science major, I never believed that the worlds of science and art were purposefully combined. Sometimes, I would stumble across some pretty picture in a textbook of something biological, such as a map of the 23 human chromosomes, each highlighted with a different colored fluorescent marker, but I never thought of it as art.


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