Part of GMU:Process as Paradigm

Questions: Can so-called Bio-Art be meaningfully described as processual art? Which methods of infiltration, visualisation, awareness-creation do artists apply? What are the political and social reverberations of this kind of art?

Nowadays, by applying quantitative and qualitative methods and the performance of peer-to-peer review, science is much more than a sole methodology for producing certainty through trial and error. Likewise the spectrum of process-oriented or processual art is wide and manifold. Amongst other practices, the recent developments in conceptual art, systems art and time-based art, and the multiplication of collaborative practices brought about by the internet, have paved the way for artistic practices of which documentation is often, sadly enough, the only remaining trace of an action that took place. These art forms are activist in the formal sense of the word: they need to find, sometimes to fight their way into new systems that they are not part of and that are not always ready for understanding or accepting art. The term ‘activist’ here means ‘before the political’ or pre-political.

Once infiltrated into a system, these art forms use the new system as artistic matter/medium, or adopt a critical stance on it. These arts are not oriented towards the production of objects but are time- based, networked, changing, constantly in search for new areas of activity to appropriate: politics, science, ethics, and business to name a few. This is, in fact, what makes them difficult to digest for the market. Interestingly, this process of infiltration produces a form of reverse contamination, as artists working ‘there’ learn to speak and act like politicians, scientists, professional ethicists, or businessmen. These artists develop a multi-lingual competence.

In the field of science fifteen years ago, artists at best would be allowed to function as agents for filling the deficit of communication of science towards society, by illustrating or visualising certain scientific processes. Nowadays, by operating cautiously, artists are successful at infiltrating laboratories and eventually find themselves being respected for the work they do.