Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Innovation boundless as art meets biotechnology

Apr 08. 2018
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By Borneo Bulletin/ANN

TOKYO - A local artist recently attended the ‘Bio-Camp: Garden as Biotechnic’ in Tokyo, Japan, organised by the Japan Foundation Asia Centre to showcase contemporary media culture and creativity through art, exchange, education and collaboration.

Yasmin binti Jaidin joined 20 other participants from Japan and Asean member countries to attend the week-long intensive workshop, which followed the theme of art, biotechnology, and culture.

Participants came from diverse backgrounds of expertise, ranging from aspiring artists that explore science and technology, engineering, biotechnology and nature/art conservationist.

According to Yasmin, the workshop encouraged extensive exchange and dialogue between participants. The workshop also gave them the opportunity to share their understanding of current issues, while searching for organic biotechnology design methods that can facilitate new ways of living.

"We were expected to work together by discussing concepts and themes, and presenting our views on these issues. The ambiguity of the theme of the workshop was intentional as participants were expected to come in with a completely fresh perspective," she explained.

The participants learned of the philosophy behind the Japanese Garden by academic researcher and garderner Tomoki Yamauchi.

They also visited Shinjuku Gyoen National Park to get a better understanding on the conservation of endangered plant life, as well as the planning and research that goes into the annual Chrysanthemum Festival.

One of the highlights of Yasmin’s visit was the ‘MetaPhorest’ laboratory of the Centre for Advanced Medical Sciences, Waseda University - a practical platform for artists working on biological/bio media art and bio aesthetics.

"The artists (involved) made me think of what the conventions of fine art should or could be, where technology and science is already a huge part of our lives.Artists approach contemporary issues, break the rules and are in constant search for new ideas.

"It made me realise that we should not be afraid to experiment with the boundaries of technology in our practice," she said.

American artist and scientist Joe Davis, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made a statement that resonated with Yasmin, "The key to innovation is that the answer is always in front of you", and described it as the epitome of the workshop.

"We progress as far as we allow ourselves to. As an artist working and living in Brunei, it has changed my perspective on how far innovation can take you.

"It is up to the individual to challenge their critical thinking regarding available resources - to see what we have in different perspectives to get to where we strive to be."

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