Arts and Genomics Centre was established to support the New Representational
Spaces Research programme, which brings together artists, genomics researchers
and art historians to investigate the interactions between and intersections
of arts and genomics.
The centre proposes to support the Kloone 4000 Project Proposal by Anje
Roosjen by using its knowledge of the field and its network of interested
people to supplement her studio work with speakers, discussion panels
and the involvement of other artists.
Arts and Genomics Centre
The Arts and Genomics Centre is part of a broad multidisciplinary research
programme, carried out at the Universities of Amsterdam, Leiden and Maastricht.
The research programme, titled New Representational Spaces: Investigations
of Interactions Between and Intersections of Art and Genomics, primarily
aims to describe and analyse the unique role that the visual arts can
have in the critical evaluation and dissemination of the results of genomics
research. The programme involves an exploration of the role of the artistic
imagination in the social and scientific debate on genomics. A major assumption
is that visual art, through its specificity of medium and content, may
contribute to public debate and the dissemination of scientific knowledge
in ways that substantially differ from other forms of debate and dissemination.
As such, the visual arts may contribute to a broad cultural embedding
of genomics. The Arts and Genomics Centre acts as the dissemination project
for the research programme.
Aims of the Centre
The Arts and Genomics Centre has the objective of stimulating, initiating
and supervising meetings, discussions, collaborations and exchanges between
international artists, scientific researchers and professionals from business
and government organisations. As instruments for achieving its aim The
Arts and Genomics Centre employs symposia, projects, exhibitions and publications
that have the interactions between and intersections of art and genomics
as leading theme. Moreover, The Arts and Genomics Centre stimulates and
conducts artistic and (transdisciplinary) scientific research of the interactions
between and intersections of art and genomics.
The point of departure of The Arts and Genomics Centre is the same as
that of the overall research programme: art is vital for a broad cultural
embedding of genomics. Because of its specific character, art can play
a unique role in the critical evaluation and dissemination of knowledge
and results from genomics research. Artists who focus in their work on
genomics or who incorporate its scientific results (bio-genetic art),
contribute to the public debate and to the dissemination of scientific
knowledge in a completely different manner than is achieved by other means
of debate and dissemination. Art, with its specific knowledge of visual
signifiers is able not only to critically consider the experiments and
results of genomics, but also to translate and represent them for a broad
public, without reverting to stereotype images.
Activities of the Centre
The Arts and Genomics Centre is based at the Swammerdam Institute of Life
Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, located at Science Park Amsterdam.
Funding for the centre comes via the New Representational Spaces Programme
grant from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
(NWO) as part of that organisation’s Netherlands Genomics Initiative
- The Social Component of Genomics Research programme . The centre has
a scientific manager, Dr. Helen Chandler and is supervised by the two
senior researchers from the research programme, Dr. Robert Zwijnenberg,
Professor of Art History in Relation to Science and Technology, Faculty
of Arts and Culture, Universiteit Maastricht and Faculty of Arts, Universiteit
Leiden and Dr. Miriam van Rijsingen, Faculty of Humanities, University
The Centre was established in November 2004 and the first phase of development
funded by NWO runs for four years. Current activities of the centre are
focused on creating a strong network of biogenetic artists, both in The
Netherlands and internationally and in creating opportunities for their
artwork to be seen and discussed. The centre’s first event was the
hosting of two lectures in Leiden and Amsterdam in December 2004 by American
Bio-genetic Artist and Art Historian Suzanne Anker, co-author of one of
the field’s first major texts: The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic
Age. In addition, the centre is establishing its own projects, including
an “Artists in Labs” programme at the University of Leiden,
modelled on a programme already running in Switzerland . The centre will
be officially launched in Amsterdam in June 2005 with a 2-day series of
lectures, workshops and discussions.
Role for the Arts and Genomics Centre in the Project
Given the Arts and Genomics Centre’s aims of stimulating and initiating
interactions between artists and genomics researchers, we feel that the
centre’s involvement in the proposal made by Anje Roosjen is highly
appropriate. In its role as facilitator of interactions, we propose that
the centre takes on some of the administrative and practical tasks involved
in the project.
Lecture and Discussion Series
We propose to hold a weekly evening lecture and discussion series for
the duration of the project. The topics of the lectures and discussions
have been selected to tie in with the artistic subjects of the project
– cloning, twins and genetic manipulation. The lectures are to be
open to the public and advertised among both the artistic and scientific
communities. We anticipate thus that members of both the artistic and
scientific worlds would be attracted to participate in the project. In
addition, the contents of the lectures and discussions are anticipated
to be incorporated into the works of the artists in the studio and it
is hoped that the participants will spend time both before and after their
sessions in talking with the artists and learning about the work being
done in the studio.
The Arts and Genomics Centre has a growing network of artists both within
The Netherlands and internationally. Several of them have indicated that
they would welcome the opportunity to play a part in the project. The
collaboration with other artists could take various forms. Other artists
are encouraged to work alongside Anje Roosjen in the studio during the
project. Other artists working with bio-genetic art could visit to participate
in workshops or the panel discussions.
Other artists with related backgrounds can be invited to participate in
the workshops and sessions closer to the date of the project.