Following the last twenty years of steep biotechnological development,
the process of evolution, which by chance endowed life on Earth, has
given way to life endowed by choice instead. Given the necessary
tools, access, and expertise, humans now possess the capacity to
design humanity itself, and artists working in the medium of synthetic
biology, working with living matter in and across time, answer the call
to confront the innovative nature and “wisdom” of the “wise human”
Homo sapiens. Who has the privilege of seeking immortality or
enhancement? How do racial and gender inequalities in STEM fields
affect the science performed and the future imaginary writ large?
Should germline DNA be treated as a public trust? What does an
expanded practice of bioart-making look like outside the gallery and
the lab? Who possesses power to shape the world as it is and as it is
Los Angeles-based creative research institute Fathomers is partnering
with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, in Little
Tokyo, to organize an exhibition and public program series,
Emergence: A Genealogy, exploring visions and iterations of the
future human as seen through the lenses of biotechnology and bioart.
Opening in fall 2024, as part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative,
Emergence will survey the global landscape of bio art, intersections of
synthetic biology and creative practice, and changing definitions of
what is natural, conscious, and essential to human existence.