Dr Donna Franklin - Creatures of the Future Garden

Donna Franklin currently lectures in cultural history and theory at the School of Communications and Arts, Edith Cowan University. She has collaborated on art-science projects since her residency at SymbioticA: Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, The University of Western Australia and a Masters of Visual Arts (ECU) in 2003. Donna has exhibited her practice of biological arts nationally and internationally, including ARS Electronica 07, Science Gallery Dublin, PICA, RMIT, Zeche Zollverein, Germany. In addition to exhibiting and curating, she also conducts art-science wet laboratory sessions for festivals and secondary schools.

In the context of the western minority world, everyday experiences of the nonhuman are in part framed by the legacy of industrialisation. Contemporary biotechnologies and increasing urbanisation are having a profound effect on how we understand and interact with life and the environment (Jones, 2011). Since the first patent on life was passed (1980), there has been an exponential growth in bioengineering. It is argued, that in such a climate, it is imperative these rapidly assimilated technologies, having a fundamental impact on the future of nonhuman and human life must be debated and questioned.

As Cass and Catts (2008) assert: In the context of economically driven research there is little time to re ect on the social and cultural implications of manipulating life. Bioarts, a combination of art and life sciences, that uses ‘wet’ biology as the medium, provides a site of reflexive cultural analysis through interdisciplinary acts of communication.

This research advocates a multi-method approach to praxis that incorporates hands-on life science/arts activities in secondary education contexts, and new exhibition spaces for interdisciplinary arts supporting real-time interactions with nonhuman life. This research provides an alternative communicative approach to hegemonic institutions and traditional gallery spaces.

From The Outstanding Field: Artistic Research Emerging from the Academy - A Symposium. 19th — 21st of March 2015.