Fact Box

Workshop: Art, science, and philosophy



December 12, 2016, 14:00h


Vordere Zollamtstrasse 3

Workshop: Art, science, and philosophy

The workshop „Art, Science, and Philosophy” will bring on Monday, December 12, 2016 philosophers, artists and scientists together to rethink the concepts of art, nature and „human nature“ in the age of technoscience, where the biological sciences become the new technological frontier, at: Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3, Room ZG 24, 14:00–18.15 hrs.

The workshop and the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory Talk of the Mexican philosopher María Antonia González Valerio is part of the research collaboration “Question about the Limits: Art, Science, and Philosophy” between the Department of Media Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna, and the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, National Autonomous University of México, Mexico City.

The collaboration project aims to initiate and develop a debate about the relationship of ontology and aesthetics in the age of technoscience from the perspectives of art, science, and philosophy: During the twentieth century science and technology acquired a dominant role in redefining the concept of life. Technology-driven science and research rendered the basic physical and functional unit of heredity, the gene, accessible to human manipulation, thus turning biology into technology. The genetic code and computer code became interchangeable, opening up new possible constellations for designing the biological sphere. Simultaneously we saw big shifts in the developments of the sciences in the least two decades, when fundamental principles and ways of doing science and research in the field of biotechnology began to erode, like the reproducibility of experimental settings. Today research processes are getting more and more outsourced, away from the laboratories of scientific institution to new start-ups, turning the research process into a black box for the scientist involved. On the other hand we see with the growing DIY movement cutting-edge technologies getting into the hands on non-professionals, and new genome editing technologies like CRISPR cheap and easy to use revolutionizing the question about the ontology of life.

This ground-breaking development went unnoticed in the art world: it was not until the 1990s that artists began to make increased use advanced technology to explore and create new art forms, such as digital art or bioart. Science-based art emerged, enhancing progressive encounters with science and technology and shifting the terrain of art towards cutting-edge technologies and the technosciences. With the rise of bioart, a variety of new materials, such as DNA, bacteria, cells, tissue cultures, and transgenic organisms, entered the art world as a means of artistic expression. Obviously, this also made it necessary for artists to get acquainted with new epistemologies and a new logic of producing reality within the techno-scientific regime. By bringing their artistic endeavour with cutting-edge technology to the public’s attention, science-based art has provoked greater reflection on the limits of manipulating and/or creating life with biotechnology, highlighting the new genome editing technologies like CRISPR and new approaches in the field of synthetic biology. Therefore, it is high time to shed some light on the relationship of ontology and aesthetics in the age of technoscience by focusing on the production of art that is related to technoscience; not only because of the technologies it uses — and recently also biotechnologies — but most importantly because from this relationship a model emerges which is fruitful for understanding and interpreting reality. Therefore, the question “What is art?” needs to be posed in the light of an ontology that deals with technoscience and the production of reality within biotechnologies. The philosopher María Antonia González Valerio will frame the workshop with her introduction and investigation about the revival and reappraisal of natural philosophy in the light of biotechnology. Her approach, which she calls “the ontology of immanence” engages above all with predominant traditions that seek to answer the question as to the essence of nature and its relationality either with reference to language or to history. In the twentieth century these lines of thought have resulted in nature being subsumed under culture, and this is why it has repeatedly been deemed necessary to try to close off and dislocate parts of nature. In recent decades the remnants of nature left over from the grasp of culture have tended to be made over to philosophical anthropology, which does not offer any solution to the philosophical issues involved. A revival and renewal of natural philosophy must engage with the recent findings of the technosciences and biotechnology and relate them theoretically to the novel aesthetic ontologies that now seek to interpret the world of sensate organisms (plants and animals including humans).


14:00–14:15 Ingeborg Reichle, Welcome and Introduction
14:15–14.45 María Antonia González Valerio, Landscape, Environment and Molecular Biology: Perspectives about Teleology
14:45–15:15 Virgil Widrich, Art & Science & the Small Bang Theory
15:15–15:45 Bernd Kräftner, “Don’t leave the kitchen!” A Recipe for Art-Science Incubations
15:45-16:15 Herwig Turk, Labscapes and Landlabs: Re-Reading Environments

16:15–16:45 Coffee Break

16:45–17:15 Tanja Gesell, Present Absent: Biomolecular & Artistic Structure Research
17:15–17:45 Christoph Bock, What if … we all know each other’s genomes?
17:45–18:15 Frank Rösl, Personalized Medicine: A critical view from the perspective of a basic researcher

18:15–18:45 Coffee Break

19:00   Angewandte Innovation Laboratory Talk: María Antonia González Valerio, Art, Science and Technology


Prof. Ingeborg Reichle, Department of Media Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Prof. María Antonia González Valerio, Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City
Prof. Virgil Widrich, Department of Art & Science, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Dr. Bernd Kräftner, Department of Art & Science, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Herwig Turk, Department of Social Design, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Dr. Tanja Gesell, Department of Structural and Computational Biology, Max F. Perutz Laboratories & University of Vienna
Prof. Christoph Bock, CeMM Principal Investigator, Visiting Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, Coordinator of the Biomedical Sequencing Facility
Prof. Frank Rösl, Division of Viral Transformation Mechanisms, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg

You can find more information on the website of the Media Theory department.

You may also download the documents here:
Download Einladung
Download Plakat
Download Reader