Y.pestis and S. aureus mixed culture.
Anna Dumitriu BY-NC-SA
Trust Me, I'm an Artist

About the ethical boundaries of science

Whether it's Herman the Bull, designer babies, a mouse with a human ear on its back, or the promises of the "cut and paste" gene-editing technique, CRISPR – the sky seems to be the limit in science. But, just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should. The ethical boundaries of science are heavily debated, both behind closed doors and in the public eye. It's even part of our pop culture; the latest scientific fantasies often find their way to Hollywood.

Precisely because such scientific advancements spark our imaginations, artists are asking for access to emerging (bio)technologies. Can their work help us to understand the ethical complexities of developments from the scientific frontier? Are artists able to uncover our hidden desires and demystify the promises of emerging technologies? And where do the boundaries lie? Are living artworks ethical? Is art allowed to alter life? Should you use your children's DNA in your own artwork?

Trust Me, I'm an Artist initiates the discussion on such matters. This project explores how art can play a role in our understanding and perception of the ethical complexities and ambiguities of new (bio)technologies. The roles and responsibilities of the artists, scientists, institutions and the public involved are also considered.

Between 2015 and 2017 a series of performative events took place in several European cities. Between 2015 and 2017, a series of performative events took place in several European cities. The final event, Be-wildering by the artists Jennifer Willet & Kira O'Reilly, will take place on May 12th. During these events, the artists proposed an ethically complex artwork to a specially formed ethics committee. While following the rules and procedures typical for the host country, the ethics committee discussed the proposal and came to a conclusion about the level of admissibility and acceptance.

After the performance, the artist was informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, together with the audience, was able to enter into a discussion about the result. The artworks that resulted from these performances will be shown in the group exhibition of Trust Me, I'm an Artist, that takes place from May 13th until Sunday June 25th at Het Glazen Huis in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam.

In this exhibition, the artists explore a range of ethical complexities that arise through artistic investigations of emerging (bio)technologies and biomedic technologies, including issues around public health, ecology, the wellbeing of organisms involved in scientific experiments, the impact of invasive species, and the effects of genetic medical treatments.

With Erich Berger & Mari Keto, Howard Boland, Gina Czarnecki & John Hunt, Anna Dumitriu, Martin O’Brien, Špela Petrič, Jennifer Willet & Kira O’Reilly.