Green Light

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-04-30
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
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Humans have bred plants and animals with an eye to aesthetics for centuries: flowers are selected for colorful blossoms or luxuriant foliage; racehorses are bred for the elegance of their frames. Hybridized plants were first exhibited as fine art in 1936, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York showed Edward Steichen's hybrid delphiniums. Since then, bio art has become a genre; artists work with a variety of living things, including plants, animals, bacteria, slime molds, and fungi. Many commentators have addressed the social and political concerns raised by making art out of living material. In Green Light,however, George Gessert examines the role that aesthetic perception has played in bio art and other interventions in evolution. Gessert looks at a variety of life forms that humans have helped shape, focusing on plants-the most widely domesticated form of life and the one that has been crucial to his own work as an artist. We learn about Ongadori chickens, bred to have tail feathers up to more than thirty feet long; pleasure gardens of the Aztecs, cultivated for intoxicating fragrance; Darwin's relationship to the arts; the rise and fall of eugenics; the aesthetic standards promoted by national plant societies; a daffodil that looks like a rose; and praise for weeds and wildflowers. Gessert surveys recent bio art and its accompanying philosophical problems, the "slow art" of plant breeding, and how to create new life that takes into account what we know about ecology, aesthetics, and ourselves. A Leonardo Book

Table of Contents

Series Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Publication Historyp. xv
Introductionp. xix
Divine Plants and Magical Animalsp. 1
Aesthetic Effects of Domesticationp. 11
The Rainforests of Domesticationp. 21
The Rise of Ornamental Plantsp. 33
Darwin's Sublimep. 41
Playing Godp. 47
Standards of Excellencep. 53
Doublesp. 61
Kitsch Plantsp. 81
Bastard Flowers, Genetic Goofies, and Freud's Bow Wowsp. 93
Biotechnology in the Gardenp. 107
Recent Art Involving DNAp. 111
Naming Lifep. 125
Anthropocentrism and Genetic Artp. 133
The Angel of Extinctionp. 143
Seven Breeding Complexesp. 153
The Slowest Artp. 171
Breeding for Wildnessp. 177
Organisms in Bio Artp. 185
Bio Art Terminologyp. 191
The Four Main Types of Double Flowersp. 193
Books and Catalogs on Biotech Art Published since 2000p. 195
Notesp. 197
Indexp. 219
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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