Boo Chapple
January 15 - February 15

An Indiscrete Life, video still

Carbon emissions, carbon offset and carbon trading schemes increasingly feature in product marketing campaigns and have been rapidly incorporated into the contemporary media vernacular. In Australia, drought has pushed the politics of water onto centre stage. There has been a marked shift inrepresentations of environmental catastrophe; from something that will be visited on us by an external agency, to something for which each individual bears some personal responsibility. While on the one hand, this increased emphasis on personal responsibility is an obvious corollary to a culture of individualism in the western world, on the other hand, it sits oddly with a formulation of the individual as a discrete agent operating independently of his, or her, environment. This paradox comes to the fore in my recent work, where I take the idea of personal responsibility to its logical extreme and explore the ambivalent relationship that we bear to our own bodily waste. In this talk I wi! ll discuss the conceptual and practical details of existing and projected works, including wearable carbon offset schemes, urine recycling devices and a self-pharming system.

More about the artist:

Boo Chapple is an artist and researcher, and is currently Artist in Residence at the Design Institute, RMIT, Melbourne. She holds a Masters of Design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University and has recently completed a year long residency at the SymbioticA art and science collaborative research laboratory, at the University of Western Australia. Her work has been exhibited at Ars Electronica in Austria, the Beijing Biennale of Architecture, and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
More information:

Patricia Olynyk
November 15th - January 30

Orb II, Digital pigment print on archival rag paper, 42 x 42 in

Inspired by the artifacts and methodologies of contemporary biology, PatriciaOlynyk's work combines art and biological imaging as an integrated practice toaddress our relationship to natural and altered environments. In response to atechnology mediated world increasingly desensitized to physical sensation, herwork calls upon viewers to expand their awareness of the worlds they inhabit,whether those worlds are their own bodies or the spaces they occupy. She doesthis through multi-media installations that that focus on modes of sensation--integrating magnified images of sense organs with macro-images of garden environmentsdesigned to heighten sensate experience.

Large-scale electron micrographs that she creates herself portray the senseorgans of a variety of specimens, including human corneas (representing sight),wild mouse taste buds and olfactory epithelia (representing taste and smell),guinea pig cochlea (representing sound) and drosophila feet (representingtouch). It's an eclectic array that deliberately mixes species to emphasizethat the state of being sensate is not uniquely human. These images areseamlessly blended with enlarged details of Japanese garden spaces that havebeen specifically composed and constructed to "tickle the senses ".

The images presented at the CBIS are suspended above the viewer and are made ofprinted silk that hangs like a diaphanous, floating sea anemone.

More about the artist :

Patricia Olynyk lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. Sheis Director of the Graduate School of Art and Florenceand Frank Bush Professor of Art in the SamFox Schoolof Design & Visual Arts, WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis. Prior to joining Washington University,she taught at the University of Michigan, where sheheld joint appointments at both the School of Art & Design and the LifeSciences Institute. Olynyk was the first non-scientist ever appointed to theInstitute.

Olynyk completed her undergraduate studies in Canadaand earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree with Distinction from the California College of the Arts. She studiedJapanese language and cultural history at Osaka National University of ForeignStudies and spent over three years as a Monbusho Scholar and Tokyu FoundationResearch Scholar at Kyoto Seika University.

Olynyk's work has been shown at the BrooklynMuseum; Denise Bibro Fine Art and Pfizer Headquarters, New York;the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.; the Museo del Corso in Rome;Galleria Grafica Tokio and the SaitamaModern Art Museum in Japan;and the American Universityin Cairo. Herwork is in numerous private and public collections that include the HewlettPackard Headquarters in Palo Alto California, the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. and the Fogg Art Museumat Harvard University. She has received numerous awards and residencies, including the 2002 NorthAmerican Print Biennial's Digital Print Award; the 2005-06 Wood Fellowship fromthe Francis C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine at the College of Physiciansof Philadelphia; and the 2005 Sound and VisionArtist Residency and Financial Award from the BanffCenter for the Arts in Canada

Patricia Olynyk at the Bruno David Gallery

Views from the exhibition coming soon

Caitlin Berrigan

October 28th - December 3rd

Caitlin Berrigan is one of the first artist-in-residence in the BioArt Initiative at RPI. She is presenting the ongoing series "Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus" which takes the form of a site-specific installation and a poster exhibition on the second floor of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (RPI).

For the week of October 29-November 2, Berrigan will occupy the lobby area at CBIS with her geodesic dome resembling the hepatitis C virus. During the occupancy, she will have a series of tea parties to discuss the series of works she has created using the formal aesthetic of the viral protein structure as the basis for each work. With the assistance of resident researchers, Caitlin will explore the process of visualizing viral proteins using proteomics, in order to better inform the series and her artistic process.

"Viral Confections" is part of a series "Sentimental Objects in Attempts to Befriend a Virus". Caitlin writes about the work: Living with a chronic, virtually incurable virus can lead to a certain identity crisis in which one's occupied body is seen simultaneously as enemy and victim; friend and abuser. Weary of the rhetoric of war and fighting used to describe the illness, I wanted to domesticate my untamed virus by offering it comfort, bread and circus. Instead of starvation, I offer it delicacies. Instead of deprivation, I offer it handmade garments. Instead of exile, I offer it whimsical shelter. These domestic objects are created in its image, based formally on the virus's protein structure. Perhaps the virus will be seduced by its own vanity? Or perhaps we can construct our own survival out of its image?"

More about the artist :

Caitlin Berrigan is an interdisciplinary artist in tactile and edible sculpture, immersive installation, electronic media and interactive performance. Her pieces have been alternatively characterized as disturbing, sexy and even smelly. Invoking the history of science and pop culture, her works address the ruptures & confluences of the body?s grotesque form, its medicalization, and many variations as object of desire. The results are quietly disturbing works of subtle humor & irony that speak to our violent and conflicted relationship with the body.

More information about the artist and her work at:

Views from the exhibition


July 1st - September 30th

Photo credit: Living Screen by Biokino (hosted by SymbioticA) - Guy Ben-Ary, Tanja Visocevic and Bruce Murphy (Australia), since 2004

In the Presence of The Body 2 is an exhibition and a screening dedicated to art, biology and society at RPI, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS).

Curator: Boryana Rossa

In the Presence of the Body 2 is an extension of the first exhibition In the Presence of the Body 1 that was meant to be an introduction to the field of bio-art. Documentation of bio-art projects of established artists from USA, Australia, Russia and Bulgaria are presented in the main foyer of CBIS aiming to reach larger audiences of the university and the local community. These works will engage the public with an educational and a critical overview of some of the aspects of bio technological research and its current applications.

Participating artists:

Bio-Kino: Guy Ben-Ary, Tanja Visocevic, Bruce Murphy (hosted by SymbioticA Australia), Julia Reodica (USA), Eduardo Kac (USA), Paul Vanouse (USA), Ultrafuturo: Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, Katia Damianova, Anton Terziev (Bulgaria/Russia) and Where are the Dogs Running (Russia).

Views from the exhibition




A Competitive Race to Make Synthetic Organisms

Friday, October 26, 2007
12: 00 noon
Bruggeman Conference Center
Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Refreshments will be served!

Peter J. Woolf, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 48109

"A Competitive Race to Make Synthetic Organisms"Synthetic biology promises to change our world in the 21st century at least as much as computers and information technology have changed in the 20th century. In this talk, I will discuss how to become involved in this change through the annual undergraduate competitions, the Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM). In 2007 the iGEM competition will be attended by over 100 teams from across the planet. I will discuss the basics of how a synthetic device is created, how the parts are organized, and why it is important to get involved.

Please find more information about the speaker here:


October 15th-November 15th
CBIS, 2nd floor lobby

The 6 min. video is an aesthetic treatment to the concepts of bodily alteration and transformation. It uses the mythological figure of Icharus as a starting point and draws connections between the myth and the reality of technologically enhanced bodies.

Click on the image to see the video

Craig Tompkins is a second year MFA candidate from the Arts program at RPI.
His work is currently focused on bodily representation related to medical scanning techniques, the medical gaze and embodiment through medical technologies.

Download the artist's statement


Ryder Cooley, Jason Martin,
Ross Goldstein

Outdoor Terrace, 2nd floor
Biotech Center, RPI

October 2nd

BIOART MIXER EVENTS are part of the recently started
BioArt/BioMedia Initiative Program @ RPI.

This initiative proposes to lay the foundation for establishing RPI as the premiere institution for the synthesis of emerging biotechnological research and media art practice. A cross-disciplinary culture will be established employing art in biotechnology. Student-driven collaborations, art and research exhibitions, inter-departmental workshops and grant writing will be used to accomplish this objective. The potential for creating mutually supportive and critically engaged culture between art, engineering and science exists at RPI to a degree that is possible in only a select few universities worldwide. Now is the ideal time to bring together these visions as research commences in CBIS and construction nears completion on EMPAC.


Three times during the exhibition period a screening of video works and documentaries about artists dealing with the biological will be shown. These works are intended to provoke a debate about controversial issues that have to be discussed in a democratic society. The topics presented in these works may be deemed offensive by certain people – discretion is advised.


September 30th, 5-8 pm
CBIS, Bruggeman Conference Center

August 29th, 5-8pm
CBIS, Bruggeman Conference Center

July 18th, 5-8pm
CBIS, Bruggeman Conference Center

Films by:

Adam Zaretsky, Critical Art Ensemble (USA), Rich Pell (USA), Tissue Culture and Art Project-Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr and Guy Ben-Ary (hosted by SymbioticA, Australia) and Bioteknica—Jennifer Willet and Shawn Bailey (Canada).

Download the program