Thacker on Aesthetics and Biomedia

Whoa – well, if biotech is the after-party of the Enlightenment, then I’d hate to imagine what the hang-over the next morning will be…But what if biotech is not really about hyper-rationality, but really about something else – like aesthetics, for instance? I mean, yes, on a certain level biotech is very obviously the instrumentalization of life, and one can easily show this, from archaic practices of animal domestication and breeding to the most high-tech nano-sciences, what would change would simply be the episteme and its corresponding mode of valuation (thus there would be a biotech era corresponding to each stage in capitalist development – an agrarian biotech, an industrial biotech, a post-industrial or post-Fordist biotech, maybe even a post-caplitalist biotech). And today, the techophilic emphasis on the convergence between biotech and infotech, along with the globalized pharmaceutical industry’s bottom-line mentality, certainly points to this ‘after-party’ feeling. Yes, but I wonder. I think about cloned mammals (the failures as well as successes), human ears grown on the back of a mouse, lab-grown organs on specially-designed polymer scaffolds, 3-D data-viz for genomics, custom-tailored bio-pharmaceuticals, ‘genetic design’, plasmid libraries, hybridomas – it seems we haven’t really considered the aesthetics of the biotech industry. It is at once abject and sublime. So you want to see bio art?, I’ll show you bio art (and it sells, too)!

– Eugene Thacker, “An Era of Zoe and Bios: An Interview

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3 Responses to Thacker on Aesthetics and Biomedia

  1. Interesting. Surreal. Creepy.

  2. paige says:

    i’m a super big fan of your blog.
    i think, at the point where i’m checking it every day, i oughta at least say something.
    but there are precious few people who i want to listen to on the subject of video games,
    be well.

    • kunzelman says:

      Brilliant! Thanks for reading. I just checked out your digs, too–rad stuff. I was a huge fan of Creatures back in the day.

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