Biotransmutations / Open Studios


Thursday June 15, 2017
6-9 pm

SVA BFA Fine Arts
335 W 16th St.
10011, New York.

Exhibition / Open Studios featuring work by current students of the SVA Bio Art Summer Residency.

Carolyn Angleton, Reid Arowood, Shuyi Cao, Maria Cau Levy, Tessa Ho, Alejandro De Las Noches, Sabrina Merayo Nuñez, Juliana Peloso, Tarah Rhoda, Masha Semenenko, Mark Woodbridge.

Biodesign Challenge: Info sessions


Join the SVA NYC Team

Collaborate with an ambitious group of SVA students and alumni to create an innovative project inspired by biology. No previous experience necessary and all skill sets appreciated!

Contact us at [email protected] for more info. Join us on February 28th or March 2nd at 3PM at the SVA Bio Art Lab (335 W 16th Street, 3rd floor) for an information session! Alumni welcome.

The Biodesign Challenge offers art and design students the opportunity to envision future applications of biotechnology in a competition that highlights student work. Our organizers connect classrooms with a team of biologists and experts to guide the students as they develop their ideas. Students in the Biodesign Challenge explore how to harness these advancements for ourselves and the natural world, how these new applications function, and how they augment our lives and environment.

The winning teams are invited to MoMA to showcase their designs in front of members the academic, industrial, and design communities at the Biodesign Summit in June 2017.



ASM’s Agar Art 2017 Contest

Create a Microbial Masterpiece for ASM’s Agar Art 2017 Contest!

The American Society for Microbiology
The School of Visual Arts, Genspace and the DNALC

ASM AGAR ART 2017 Contest Microbial Masterpiece
A 2 Part Workshop with Nurit Bar-Shai & Christine Marizzi

When: Friday Feb 3 & Sunday Feb 5, 2017, 3-6pm

Where: School of Visual Arts, Fine Arts Department
335 West 16th St. New York, NY 10011

Hosted and Sponserd by School of Visual Arts | Fine Arts Department

Eventbrite Registration



Ever wanted to paint with life? SVA is proud to offer you access to the American Society for Microbiology’s Agar Art contest. Create your own work of art using microbes as “paint” and agar as a “canvas.”  No experience necessary! In this two part, hands-on workshop, you will create your own Agar Art using live microbes. Photos of the Agar Art created in this workshop are eligible to enter the American Society of Microbiology contest. Media outlets in 12 countries, from Discovery to BBC News to The Huffington Post, featured coverage of the previous competitions and its winners. In addition, participants can win up to $485-worth of prizes.

PART 1: 02/03/17 Friday 3PM-6PM
Participants will create Agar Art by painting with microbes and learn how to use traditional biology lab techniques with artistic tools. A team of trained staff and PhD level scientist will hold an in-depth teaching session and discussion about the microbes you used in your Agar Artwork, about the human microbiome and about genetic engineering biotechnology used to modify bacteria colors.

PART 2: 02/05/17 Sunday 3PM-6PM
After incubation, participants will return to the SVA Bio Lab to observe the now visible bacterial paintings. Lab assistants will introduce a variety of post-production techniques to refine and edit the designs. The final works will be photographed and submitted to the ASM Agar Art contest.



Organizers and Instructors:
Nurit Bar-Shai, Co-Founder Genspace
Christine Marizzi PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center

In collaboration with The School of Visual Arts
Hosts and Sponsors: Fine Arts Department, School of Visual Art
Suzanne Anker, Chair Fine Arts Department
Tarah Rhoda, Bio Art Lab Manager

The workshop is devised in association with American Society for Microbiology
Katherine S. Lontok, PhD, ASM Public Outreach Manager

School of Visual Art, Fine Arts Department, Bio Art laboratory
Genspace Community Biotech Lab, Brooklyn NY 
DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Supported by:

 Agar Art logo

American Society for Microbiology



Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory











Lecture by Avi Lubin


The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths

Lecture by Avi Lubin

Wednesday September 14, 2016. 4PM
Free and open to the Public

School of Visual Arts
SVA Bio Art Lab
BFA Fine Arts Department
335 West 16th Street, 3th Floor
New York, NY – 10011

This talk will present the work of Israeli artists whose works offer an interesting and unique dialogue between art and science.

Avi Lubin is an independent curator and the head of theory studies at the Postgraduate Fine Art Program, Hamidrasha College of Art. He is the founding co-editor of Tohu Magazine, a trilingual independent online art publication (published in Hebrew, Arabic and English). Lubin is a PhD candidate at the School of Philosophy and The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at the Tel Aviv University

Image: Gideon Gechtman, White Peacock, 1999, Mixed Media.

Microscopy Under a Hurricane: Uncovering the Tiny Life of Bonaire


July 30th – August 6th, 2016

microscopy under a hurricane

Beneath the hurricane belt of the central Caribbean lays the windswept island of Bonaire famed for its brilliant coral reefs, magnificent mangroves, and flocks of pink flamingoes. In this expedition, we bring our microscopes, SCUBA gear, and collecting nets to photograph this tropical wonderland and the tiny creatures that live above and below the waters surface. Along the way we will paddle our kayaks through the blue waters of the island coast, visit the sea-salt mines, and search out birds of paradise. We will scan the sea for bioluminescence and stargaze into the soft Milky Way. Come join us on this subequatorial adventure.

What we will do:
Bonaire more than any other island in the world is known for its shallow water reefs that are accessible from shore and only a fins kick below the waters surface making these waters a snorkeling and diving paradise. Here, we use underwater cameras to photograph marine organisms in their natural habitats and collect small creatures that we can image on land under our microscopes. There, we will study the fine detail and intricate structures of life – at a point where art and science merge in a labyrinth of discovery, understanding, and creativity. Through our journey we hope to combine music, art, science, and newfound friendships to create an unparalleled, once in a lifetime expedition – to create lasting memories and stories to be told. Come join us. Live Magnified!

$2,200 (airfare not included)

Joe DeGiorgis (Expedition Leader)
[email protected]

Darya Warner (Chief of Operations)
[email protected]

The image is of the expedition team of our last expedition ion ABACO Island in the Bahamas in March of 2016. From bottom left to right – Art Director and Head SCUBA Diver Chris O’Flaherty, Actor, Narrator and Chief Anchor Operator Arnaud Spanos, BioArtist and Head of Operations Darya Warner. Top left to right – Expedition Leader Joe DeGiorgis, Lead Scientist and Underwater Cinematographer Lucas Pozzo-Miller, Artist and Naturalist Regan Rosburg, Environmental Artist/Photographer and Author Chris Jordan, and Snorkeling Aficionado and Head Chef Victor Jordan. Our trusted Captain Jess Berndt is behind the camera. The image is of the expedition team of our last expedition ion ABACO Island in the Bahamas in March of 2016. From bottom left to right – Art Director and Head SCUBA Diver Chris O’Flaherty, Actor, Narrator and Chief Anchor Operator Arnaud Spanos, BioArtist and Head of Operations Darya Warner.

Top left to right – Expedition Leader Joe DeGiorgis, Lead Scientist and Underwater Cinematographer Lucas Pozzo-Miller, Artist and Naturalist Regan Rosburg, Environmental Artist/Photographer and Author Chris Jordan, and Snorkeling Aficionado and Head Chef Victor Jordan. Our trusted Captain Jess Berndt is behind the camera.


2016 Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

Lecture: Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

April 4, 2016
7:00 pm

Room 302, 3rd Floor

Anna Dumitriu will discuss her experiences of creating art embedded in bioscience settings and will describe some personal projects, for example working with the Modernising Medical Microbiology group at The University of Oxford, and exploring the field of synthetic biology at the University of California Irvine.
Alex May will share his work exploring a wide range of digital technologies, most notably the technique known as video mapping or projection mapping, which he practices using software he authored. He also designs interactive installations, generative works and full-size humanoid robots, sometimes in collaboration with Anna Dumitriu. He will discuss their collaborative projects “Sequence”, “Super-organism” and “My Robot Companion”.

Anna Dumitriu (1969) is a bioartist based in the UK. Her work investigates the microbiological world and the latest technologies we use to study it. She works with textile craft techniques, sculpture, video installation, and live bacteria, actually using the tools and techniques of microbiology as artistic media.

Alex May (1972) is a British artist exploring a wide range of digital technologies, including video mapping, interactive installations, generative works, full-size humanoid robots, performance and video art. He is a visiting research fellow: artist in residence in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Hertfordshire.

Free and Open to the public.

Please note, lecture will take place in Room 302, 3rd Floor.

SVA Fine Arts Building
335 W 16th St.

New York, NY 10011 United States

+ Google Map

WSJ – Move Over Silicon Valley, Plant Hackers Start a Tech Bloom

The SVA Bio Art Lab, featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal

Instead of Computer Code, ‘Plant Hackers’ Tinker With Genetics

Do-it-yourself bioengineers tinker with genetic code; blue roses

By Bradley Hope
Jan. 19, 2016

After his parents go to bed, Sebastian Cocioba usually retires to the third bedroom of the family apartment, where he has built a laboratory.

Suntory ‘Applause’

There, amid the whir of climate-controlling fans and equipment harvested from eBay, he is working on what he hopes will one day become a lucrative career. Mr. Cocioba, 25 years old, is a plant hacker.

“I want to make flowers no one has ever seen,” he says, wearing shorts and a T-shirt on a recent day at his home in Queens, N.Y. “What would happen if you combined features of a pine tree with an eggplant?” He also wants to turn a rose blue.

Born into an earlier generation, Mr. Cocioba might have spent hours writing computer programs. Instead he is at the vanguard of a millennial niche: do-it-yourself bioengineering. In place of a keyboard, he has a homemade “gene gun” that fires genetic material into plants on a blast of tiny tungsten particles.

A growing coterie of plant hackers and synthetic biology startups have their sights set on creating some bizarre and wondrous creations: glowing plants, fragrant moss and flowers that change colors when you pour beer into the soil.

Such plants have long been possible, but the research and experimentation was time-consuming and expensive. The first glowing plants were invented by scientists trying to better understand genetics.

Antony Evans, 35, chief executive of Taxa, a Silicon Valley company launched last year as a platform for would-be plant designers, says such creations are part of a broader movement.

ENLARGE Close-ups of tomato plants grown from cuttings at the School of Visual Arts’ Bio Art Lab. Mr. Cocioba uses common plants like tomatoes and tobacco to explore gene modification. Photo: Bradley Hope/The Wall Street Journal

“I can see a future where genetic engineering becomes acceptable and commonplace, where some teenagers have ideas for plants and make them the same way kids make mobile apps today,” he said.

For plant hackers, no prize is bigger or more sought-after than the “true” blue rose.

“It’s a bit of a unicorn,” said Keira Havens, co-founder of Revolution Bioengineering in Fort Collins, Colo., a startup working with scientists on plant bioengineering projects. “It is elusive.”

Blue roses are available from some florists, but they aren’t “true” in the eyes of biologists because they are simply dyed. The mythical flower, which doesn’t exist in nature, has been pursued for centuries, with dubious claims as far back as the 12th century.

It is referred to in Chinese and Middle Eastern folk tales, as well as a Rudyard Kipling poem (“Half the world I wandered through/Seeking where such flowers grew/Half the world unto my quest/Answered me with laugh and jest.”)

In 1840, the horticulture societies of the U.K. and Belgium offered a 500,000 franc reward for a true blue rose, but no prize was awarded.

It is also thought to be the Holy Grail in the annual $10 billion cut-flower industry, where new and novel plants can earn big profits.

The closest anyone has come to creating a true blue rose is a Japanese whisky consortium, Suntory Holdings Ltd.

Suntory teamed up with Florigene, an Australian genetic engineering firm focusing on plants. The company, now known as Suntory Flowers Ltd., created the first purple carnations, sold across the world under names such as Moonshade and Moonvista.

In 2004, the firm announced it had finally cracked the code of the blue rose. But it turned out to only include blue pigments—a significant scientific achievement. To the human eye, it is lavender in color. The rose, called “Applause,” is only available in Japan, for $25 each. The company is continuing to try to make a bluer rose.

One of the biggest challenges is lowering the acidity of the plant so that the blue color can become more visible.

Mr. Cocioba is researching blue plants along with Suzanne Anker, an artist who uses biological material in her work and is the director of the Bio Art Lab at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

By day, Mr. Cocioba is a scientific consultant in the lab. In between student sessions, he has been experimenting with turning tobacco plants blue, using the DNA from a type of blue coral.

He is almost entirely self-taught. He studied biology at Stony Brook University, but dropped out. For several years, he cloned orchids—a process of growing new plants from pieces of other plants—to sell to local florists. Slowly he built up his lab and began to better understand the delicate process of altering plant DNA, mostly through reading online and discussing projects with other would-be plant hackers.

“It’s about democratizing science,” he says.

Another major target for biohackers are plants that glow using DNA from bioluminescent jellyfish or fireflies. The first such plants available to consumers produce only a very modest glow.

The “Starlight Avatar,” available for about $35 from Bioglow Inc., is a ghostly plant sent to buyers in a closed plastic container. Its glow can only be detected if taken into a pitch dark room for enough time for retinas to adjust to its faint emissions. It can’t be exposed to the air or sunlight without the risk of dying.

Alexander Krichevsky, 40, the research director of the company in St. Louis, said he is working on brighter, more-resilient plants. He says his main clients now are “people between 20 and 30 years old, usually with computer professions,” or major fans of the science-fiction film “Avatar,” which featured glowing plants in its fictional world of Pandora.

Mr. Evans, of Taxa, is also the founder of a company that raised $484,000 on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter for its glowing plant in 2013, but hasn’t delivered yet. He said delivery of glowing plant seeds to backers will start this year.

Next in production is a new kind of moss that smells like patchouli that could be a replacement for air fresheners one day.

After that, he too will make a go at the blue rose, he says.


Read article and watch video on

iGEM 2015 SVA

iGEM 2015

iGEM 2015 SVA
iGEM 2015 Winner:
Best Art & Design Project

Our project, Soiled, won a gold medal for the Best Art & Design Project during the iGEM 2015 Giant Jamboree.

Our project was also nominated for:
– Best Integrated Human Practices
– Best Education and Public Engagement
– Best Presentation

300 iGEM teams competed for these honorable mentions.


The iGEM Foundation is dedicated to education and competition, advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of open community and collaboration.

The main program at the iGEM Foundation is the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition. The iGEM Competition is the premiere student competition in Synthetic Biology. Since 2004, participants of the competition have experienced education, teamwork, sharing, and more in a unique competition setting.

Giant Jamboree

September 24-28 – Hynes Convention Center – Boston
More than 2700 attendees participated in the largest synthetic biology event to date. The Giant Jamboree celebrates the hard work and dedication shown by the 280 multidisciplinary iGEM teams from all over the world. See details of the event at


Soiled i​s the project name for the the School of Visual Arts’ participation in the Art and Design track of the 2015 iGEM competition. By creating a speculative mobile device, a non­toxic methodology is implemented to test nutrient values in soil for the urban gardener.

Consisting of a multi­media installation composed of computer generated cut­outs in the shapes of the five boroughs of New York City, the works are fabricated from compressed board, lucite sheets and LED lights. Denoting the respective results of soil samples collected throughout the New York metropolitan area, as a visual representation the installation is consistent with the scientific processes of creating chemical color reactions. A spectrophotometer was employed to indicate the precise levels of nutrients in the aforementioned samples. By investigating alternative methods of analysis our microfluidic device holds promise for deciphering soil nutrients in a more ecological manner.

The installation functions as both a data representation of our sampling sites and additionally relies on aesthetic principles of investigation. Color which crosses the boundaries between art and science as a perceptual marker is of extreme importance in both practices, pointing at once to the ways knowledge is produced.

Visit Soiled Wiki:


2015 Summer Residency
Open Studios

Bio Art Summer Residency
Open Studios

Thursday, June 18, 2015

SVA Fine Arts Building
335 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011

Free and open to the public

Members of the SVA Summer Residency Program at the Fine Arts Bio Art Lab present work that focuses on the intersection of art and science. Participating artists include JoAnn Block, Andrew Cziraki, Maria Gracia Donoso, Tal Eshed, Mara Haseltine, Mille Kalsmose-Hjelmborg, Steph Mantis, Judith Mont, Liana Nigri Moszkowicz, Martha Paola Ramos, Virginia Sperry, Grace Stokes, Ayse Suter, Victor Taboada Urtuzuastegui and Lola Young.

Science & U!: Science and The Arts

Science & U! this month explores the artistic side of science:
Donna Hanover goes to the School of Visual Arts where students are using the techniques of biology labs in creating artistic works.

Original tape date: June 2, 2015.
First aired: June 2, 2015.

Watch CUNY TV visit to SVA Bio Art Lab on Youtube

Science & U! explores the world of science, taking the headlines and information you need and showing its importance in our everyday life. From technology, research and health to kids, humor and the arts each program explores these topics in clear, concise and engaging presentations designed for audiences of all backgrounds and ages!

Regular air times

1st Tuesday of each month
8am, 2pm, 8pm

Molecular Cuisine: The politics of taste

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On Friday February 13th, 2015, Suzanne Anker and Victoria Vesna hosted “Molecular Cuisine: The Politics of Taste” in conjunction with Leonardo’s Education and Arts Forum (LEAF) for the College Art Association, CAA. This event was a sit down dinner investigating the various ways cultures approach the concept of food.  From molecular cuisine to sushi to miracle berries, we explored the intricacies between taste and value, employing food as a filter and as an art material.



Artists and designers interested in the life sciences are invited to propose new projects for funding. The BIO ART & DESIGN AWARD (previously called the DA4GA) grants three awards, each of them is €25.000, to fully realize a new work of art or design that pushes the boundaries of research application and creative expression. Winning proposals are developed in collaboration with a Dutch research institution over several months then exhibited to the public in MU Art Space in Eindhoven at the end of the year.

To be eligible for the award you must have graduated no longer than five years ago from a design or art program at either the Masters or Bachelors level. Applicants are encouraged to relate their proposals to recent advances in the life sciences, including (but not limited to) those within specialties such as biomedicine, synthetic biology and ecology. Please be sure to read all information about the call, deadlines, regulations and requirements before submitting an application on the website.The BIO ART & DESIGN AWARD highlights and explores exciting new intersections among design, artistic practice and the life sciences. The award is a product of collaboration between ZonMW, NWO, TU/e, the Waag Society, BioArt Laboratories and MU. The call procedure will be carried out by ZonMW.

The deadline for applications is 2 February 2015.

Naturally Hypernatural:
Visions of Nature

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International Conference, SVA NYC
14-16 November, 2014

Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature is an interdisciplinary conference investigating the fluctuating “essences” of “nature” and the “natural” in the 21st century. Each of these terms carries with it an enormity of philosophical questions ranging from the alteration of life itself to dialogues concerning the notion of the Anthropocene, a term used to describe man’s intervention into the natural world. The talks presented here will focus on contemporary issues in the visual arts as they intersect with the biological and geological sciences, confirming that nature remains an intrinsically mysterious, ever more mutable entity.  At the present time, cellular parts are being remixed in laboratories to create synthetic organisms while geological transformations are forecasting wild swings in weather conditions. Human reproduction regularly occurs in Petri dishes while cucumbers are grown in space. The artificial and the natural now combine to form novel entities, never before seen on earth, while animal species dwindle down to extinction every day.  Animals and plants are exhibited as contemporary art, while the real is conflated with the imaginary. Technological advances and their theoretical undertones have migrated into art practice producing New Media installations, Bio Art exhibitions and a global community of art practitioners adapting novel productions to cultural resources.   In addition, visual art has become a social practice platform with projects that intersect with urban farming, DIY biology and extremes in performance art.  Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature brings together artists, historians, curators, philosophers and scientists to examine and comment on these ideas.

In addition, there will be an exhibition of work by students, alumni and faculty, generated through SVA’s Bio Art Laboratory, the first of its kind in the U.S.A.

For more information, complete program and speakers, please visit

School of Visual Arts
Fine Arts Department
335 W 16th St
New York, NY 10011


Rainbow Loom

Rainbow Loom / 彩虹幻象

Rainbow Loom
 / 彩虹幻象
苏珊 安克个展
10/11-11/25, 2014
V Art center / 视界艺术中心
No.50 moganshan Rd./ 莫干山路50号
building 6,floor 1 / 六号楼一层
Shanghai, China / 中国上海

10/9-10/25, 2014
33 middle sichuan Rd./ 四川中路33号
room 901/ 901室
Shanghai, China / 中国上海

Curated by: Hu Renyi / 策展人: 胡任乂
Organized by: Chao Jiaxing / 統筹人: 巢佳幸
Translation and Design: Zeng Weixi / 翻译和设计: 曾维希

Rainbow Loom, two solo exhibitions by American artist Suzanne Anker, addresses the intersections between nature’s products to those manufactured by science and industry. At V Art Center, specimens from nature are accompanied by those of synthetic origin. The installation, in accord with the color wheel and its variations of chroma, points to the wonder of life’s diversity. Tomatoes, spices, herbs, eggs and insects and other specimens are juxtaposed with steel wool, beads, and paper among various industrial products to produce small still life configurations.  Each arrangement is displayed in a petri dish, a glass apparatus commonly employed in scientific laboratory experiments. The installation is an array of 400 elements exposing the rich and luminous colors inherent in the contemporary world. The exhibition opens on October 11 and runs through November 25, 2014.

The exhibition begins at SNAP, where projected video and photographs on silk document a coral research laboratory in Florida in the USA.  Mote laboratory is a research institute experimenting on restoring coral and developing a genetic seed bank to classify these animals. Coral reefs, which create habitats for numerous plants and animals, are under siege throughout the world. These images present indoor tanks, as healing factories, for these beautiful creatures, which at a later time will be released into the wild. This exhibition opens on October 9 and runs through October 25, 2014.

Cut, Paste, Print: Transforming Reproductive Limits
October 10, 7-9pm
Minsheng Art Museum
Minsheng Video Room, Floor 2, Bldg.F No.570 West Huaihai Road
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi

Where is the Art in Bio Art?

October 15, 7-9pm
Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai
Gate 7, People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi

From the Laboratory to the Studio: Intersections of Art, Design and Technology

October 13, 10:30-11:30am (lecture); 1:30-3:30pm (workshop)
Shanghai Institute of Visual Art
2200 Wenxiang Road, Songjiang Shanghai,
Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Building 4( Yifei Building )
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi


“Where is the Art in Bio Art?” in the New York Times

The New York Times
Science | The Scan

Science Events: Dancing Particle Physics and Science-Inspired Fashion


Where Is the Art in Bio Art?
School of Visual Arts, Flatiron Gallery, 133/141 West 21st Street, Manhattan. Through Oct. 18; reception at6 p.m. Oct. 1. Free.

When Shane Boddington was growing up in rural Zimbabwe, he remembers craving an orange to quench his thirst. Now he is trying to splice a citrus gene into a tobacco plant to create a transgenic hybrid that smells like an orange. Mr. Boddington is not a biologist, however: He is an art student at the School of Visual Arts, whose Bio Art Lab was founded in 2011 to help young artists to put down their brushes and work with plants, animals and microbes using techniques like tissue engineering and cloning. At this show, one student will project colorized videos of wiggling ants to show the complexity of the gestural language they use to communicate. Another student has built a machine that makes entrancing mounds of glowing bubbles using a compound found in bioluminescent algae. There are also works from faculty members: Brandon Ballengée will show a skate fish preserved with a 19th-century technique that reveals its inner structure, and the lab’s director, Suzanne Anker, will contribute a 3-D replica of an egg in a petri dish with a dead insect. The purpose of bio art is to “demystify science and turn it into raw material for the practice of art,” Ms. Anker said — art that questions “what it means to be human at a time when technologies are changing how we reproduce, grow food and make drugs.”

Opening Reception: Wednesday October 1st, 6-8pm
View photographs of the exhibition
Read The beginnings and the ends of Bio Art by Suzanne Anker at