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      Bringing the Tangible into the Virtual: Preserving human-silkworm collaboration



      Proceedings of EVA London 2019 (EVA 2019)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      8 - 11 July 2019

      Virtual cultural heritage, Digital humanities, Preservation, Sericulture, Bio-art, Eco-art

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          The connotation of the term ‘virtual cultural heritage (VCH)’ in Hong Kong (HK) tends to refer to virtual reality experiences that replicate physical sites as a form of digital representation and preservation. This raises the question as to whether there are wider and more creative potentialities that are yet to be explored for VCH by HK researchers. To address this question, the authors use Chinese bio-artist Liang Shaoji’s collaboration with silkworms in making sculptural installations as a case study for seeking a more holistic approach to virtualisation that both preserves and presents their trans-species practice. Additional benefits include increased accessibility and dissemination for an ever-changing experience, which would help artist and viewers alike. The particular challenges brought by Liang and the silkworms’ art projects lie in two main factors: the ephemeral and meditative ambience dedicated to Daoist philosophical concepts and the erratic and growing traits of some artworks along the time. In regard to the latter trait, certain works constantly change materially and biologically, such as the yellowing process of the silk spun or the lifespan of the species itself including cocooning, egging and urinating. On the other hand, the audience’s on-site space-specific and multi-sensuous experiences with the art projects, such as changes in the works’ appearance depending on viewer interactions and sensations beyond vision and hearing, are also an integral part of viewing this artistic transformation of a cultural heritage practice that is worth translating into a virtual context. We use a combination of data curation, archival science and digital humanities strategies to propose a model that can be used for Liang’s art practice. One author is an anthropologist working directly with Liang; the other is a hybrid artist-archivist-technologist. Through this analysis, the authors plan to apply the resulting process for proposing a VCH experience based on Liang’s work to other bio-artists incorporating Asian religious or philosophical ideas. This paper focuses mainly on the analysis and design required to create such a virtual framework and considerations that should be made for the unique needs of such artists.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Bio-art: the ethics behind the aesthetics.

          Bio-art represents a crossover of art and the biological sciences, with living matter, such as genes, cells or animals, as its new media. Such manipulations of life require collaborations with scientists and considerable financial backing. Herein, I consider bio-art that goes 'under the skin' - in which DNA, cells or proteins are used as the media and means - to highlight the ethical implications of reducing life to art.
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            Is Open Access

            What Ethics for Bioart?

             Nora Vaage (2016)
            Living artworks created with biotechnology raise a range of ethical questions, some of which are unprecedented, others well known from other contexts. These questions are often discussed within the framework of bioethics, the ethics of the life sciences. The basic concern of institutionalised bioethics is to develop and implement ethical guidelines for ethically responsible handling of living material in technological and scientific contexts. Notably, discussions of ethical issues in bioart do not refer to existing discourses on art and morality from the field of aesthetics. The latter framework is primarily concerned with how the moral value of an artwork affects its artistic value. The author argues that a successful integration of these two frameworks will make possible an ethics of bioart that is adequate to its subject matter and relevant for practice. Such an integrated approach can give increased depth to understandings of ethical issues in bioart, inspire new ways of thinking about ethics in relation to art in general and give novel impulses to bioethics and technology assessment. Artworks by the Tissue Culture and Art Project and their reception serve as the empirical starting point for connecting perspectives in art with those of bioethics, developing an ethics for bioart. The author suggests that consideration of the effect of these artworks is vital in validating ethically problematical applications of biotechnology for art. It is argued that the affective, visceral qualities of living artworks may spur the audience to adjust, revise or develop their personal ethical framework.
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              General Research Fund 14652616: Digital Ritual Archive of Chinese Temples in Hong Kong: Study of Multi-dimensional Ritual Processes

               C. LAI (2016)

                Author and article information

                July 2019
                July 2019
                : 256-263
                School of Creative Media

                City University of Hong Kong
                © Kim et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2019, UK

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Proceedings of EVA London 2019
                EVA 2019
                London, UK
                8 - 11 July 2019
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
                Electronic Workshops in Computing


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