Jessica Johnson

The tremendous acceleration in the amount of scientific knowledge unearthed about the universe within the past century has presented the human race with greater challenges and contradictions with respect to our understanding of the nature of our “being” and our environment, permeating social, philosophical, anthropological, political and military disciplines. With this acceleration, a disconnect has emerged between our drive to create new technology for the sake of gaining knowledge about life and the universe, and the subsequent consequences of attaining that knowledge.

What I hope to address in my work are the issues that arise concerning the ethical, political and social dimensions of present-day science and technology. I have a background in biology, specifically genetics, and have spent over seven years working in different research laboratories. My work draws from my experiences in the methodology of the laboratory, as well as my general interest in the sciences. I am specifically concerned with the state of anxiety induced by some of these changes and “advances” in the field of science and its consequent impact on human society. I draw from biotechnology, often using biological material to create work. I also use craft and traditional art materials to bring scientific issues out of the exclusivity of the research laboratory. By using bright and seductive materials, I attempt to address the ethical and socio-political dimensions of these topics in a way that will draw in the viewer and provoke discussion of these issues in a greater social context.

“Genetics gives artists the room, for example, to question not only mortality, but to speculate on the moral, spiritual, legal and aesthetic issues that go beyond life and death to embrace notions of immortality.”
---Marvin Heiferman and Carole Kismaric from Picturing the Genetic Revolution Now, 2001, pg. 11