Week 2

BioArt in Education

       I came to this class with no idea what Biotechnology and Art (or BioArt) is. I have asked myself many times if I will get anything out of this class at as a South Campus Major, and I was doubtful of the significance of BioArt. This feeling stayed with me as I watched the first introductory video – I struggled to understand what significance can playing Jazz to E.Coli or sending images encoded in DNA to outer space make in the world.


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.


Introduction to Biotechnology and Art

When I first enrolled in this class I had no idea what to expect. Before watching the lectures, the intersection of biotechnology and art conjured up images of microscopic bacteria or plants and I thought this class would be limited to analyzing works such as the picture below, which shows a GaN nano-flower that was recorded using a field emission scanning electron microscope.

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Foraging around UCLA was quite an interesting activity. I wasn't surprised that UCLA had such a variety of flora readily available for consumption, aside from washing them. This means I'll never go hungry again, right?

DIYBio | EcoArt | Foraging

Last week, Mary talked about DIYBio in class. I thought it was interesting that the DIYBio brand meant more than just doing biology experiments in your garage, but that it was a social and political movement about opening lab doors and making science accessible to everyone. It was clear to me in the 2nd DIYSECT episode that the movement is definitely not conducive of bioterrorists, since it is about working in community labs - a bioterrorist would definitely not get away with anything there!

Foraging & Blood Wars

Our foraging excursion effectively underscored the natural beauty on our campus. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of edible plant species we were able to identify, especially in public spaces right outside of Bunch and Broad. The short nature trail behind Broad was such a treat—I love stumbling upon and exploring less-frequented paths. We transcended “stopping to smell the roses;” instead we stopped to taste the cactus fruit in the succulent garden above Bomb Shelter.

Foraging, DIYBio, and Blood Wars, Oh My!

               Never had I thought that in one of my classes I would walk around the “wilds” of UCLA and forage for food. I was secretly hoping to find some hidden fruit trees, but instead I was surprised by how many edible plants there are around campus. Who knew you could eat dandelion leaves and clovers? I’ve had rose-flavored ice cream before (which tastes exactly how it smells and is delicious), so I wasn’t too surprised to hear that some flowers are edible. Out of curiosity, I researched other edible flowers.

Our Common World

This week's foraging exercise helped me understand more about the way humans and other organisms are not of different worlds that simply interact. Rather, we all work together to make up our common world, where humans contribute to other organisms while animals and plants also contribute to human lives. I did more research on SPURSE and the "Eat Your Sidewalk!" initiative, which brought up the idea that when we come across a plant, our fates become intertwined.

DIYbio & Foraging

Before I took this class, I had never heard of DIYbio. Sure I knew what DIY was (the really cool art projects on blogs or pinterest), and as a science major, I definitely knew what bio was, but I had no clue about DIYbio.  When I first heard this word, I thought it  referred to easy science experiments that anyone could do at home. Now, I’ve realized that DIYbio is much more sophisticated. 



After listening to Mick and Mary’s lectures, I was intrigued with the concepts of DIYBio and how DIYbio and ecology can be applied to gain public’s awareness of biotechnological impacts. DIYbio’s members call themselves biohackers, and they work together on different projects and create their own labs over the globe.


After learning about DIYBIO and Ecology making its way into art, I thought to myself how come the two are not combined? There should be a DIYECOBIO where you learn about science in the lab and then go outside and observe nature around you while trying to figure out new ways to help the environment.


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