Photo: Courtesy of Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago
ART CREATING LIFE: Eduardo Kac's Genesis project enables viewers to create bacteria mutations.

A stroll through an art museum can mirror a walk outdoors, as nature has inspired artists since people first used charcoal to draw on cave walls. Today, ambitious artists and accessible technologies have modernized the marriage of biology and art into bioart, coupling imagination and science to create animate, often interactive, works that put pretty paintings of flowers to shame.

"[Bioart's popularity] is similar to the video movement in the arts," says Ruth West, lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Before, you'd have to go into a television station for access to video equipment. Now you can walk into a Best Buy [store] and get an incredibly powerful camera." While most students will never have their own DNA sequencer, the recent biotechnology boom is providing a greater...

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