Aesthetics of Art and Life Sciences: Collaborations and Resistance


  • Polona Tratnik



bio art, art and science, life sciences, avant-gardes, contemporary art


In this paper, the author pays attention to the actual phenomenon of art and life science collaborative projects. She discusses the orientation of this project towards the world. In the course of modernity, the fields of art and science have been established as relatively autonomous fields with canonized methods and objectives. The author will compare scientific and artistic activities and address the question of their objectives. If art and science strive for different objectives, are these art and science projects about harmonizing them, or what is the objective that art follows and perhaps differs much from science? The author emphasizes a certain role of art, which art inherited from Romanticism. Comprehension of art as an avant-garde was extremely important for 19th-century art, particularly in France, where artists considered themselves the avant-garde of the society and also used militant rhetoric. Mallarmé, for instance, said that the modern poet is “at strike against the society”. This romantic attitude of the artists that position themselves rebelliously against the norms and cannons of the majority of population, insisted in the art throughout modernism and expressed particularly strongly in the historical avant-gardes. The author claims that exactly this heritage is crucial for the art that enters the field of science and is engaged with its socially-relevant aspects. The contemporary art projects entering the field of life sciences inherit the tradition of the avant-garde. The modes of collaborations and resistance will be addressed in the paper. Particular relevance will be given to the orientation of art towards the future. That is the comprehension of art as a political agent.


Article received: June 12, 2019; Article accepted: July 6, 2019; Published online: October 15, 2019; Review article


Author Biography

Polona Tratnik

Alma Mater Europaea – Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Ljubljana

Polona Tratnik, Ph.D., is Dean of Alma Mater Europaea – Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Faculty and Research Institute for Humanities, Ljubljana, where she is a Professor and Head of Research as well. She also teaches courses at the Faculty for Media and Communication at Singidunum University in Serbia, at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana, at the Faculty of Education of the University of Maribor and at the Faculty for Design of the University of Primorska. She used to be the Head of the Department for Cultural Studies at the Faculty for Humanities of the University of Primorska. In 2012 she was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, as well as a Guest Professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. She was a Guest Professor also at the Capital Normal University Bejing (China), at the Faculty for Art and Design Helsinki TAIK (Finland), and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City). She is president of the Slovenian Society of Aesthetics (since 2011) and an Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Aesthetics. She has authored eight monographs as a single author, including Umestno u savremenosti (Art in Contemporaneity, Belgrade: Orion Art, 2018), Conquest of Body. Biopower with Biotechnology (Springer, 2017), Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Mexico City: Herder, 2013), Art as Intervention (Ljubljana: Sophia, 2017), and The End of Art: Genealogy of Modern Discourse – From Hegel to Danto (Annales, 2009). Polona Tratnik is a pioneer bio artist exhibiting worldwide at shows such as Ars Electronica festival and BEAP festival in Perth.


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How to Cite

Tratnik, P. (2019). Aesthetics of Art and Life Sciences: Collaborations and Resistance. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (20), 11–16.



Main Topic: Contemporary Aesthetics of Media and Post-Media Art Practices