Joe Davis (artist)

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Joe Davis with the Golden Nica of the Prix Ars Electronica 2012 for his "Bacterial Radio"
"Galaxy: Earth Sphere" sculpture, a Kendall Sq Landmark by Joe Davis, Fall 1989.

Joe Davis (born 1951) is a research affiliate in the Department of Biology at MIT and in the George Church Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. His research and art includes work in the fields of molecular biology, bioinformatics, "space art", and sculpture, using media including but not limited to centrifuges, radios, prosthetics, magnetic fields, and genetic material. Davis' teaching positions have been at MIT and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Davis' works include the sculpture Earth Sphere, a landmark fog fountain at Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the MIT campus;[1] RuBisCo Stars, a transmission of a message to nearby stars from the Arecibo Observatory radiotelescope in Puerto Rico, carried out in November 2009;[2][3] New Age Ruby Falls, a project to create an artificial aurora using a 100,000 watt electron beam fired into the magnetosphere from a NASA space shuttle,[4] which has not yet been carried out, and Microvenus, a piece of symbolic art involving engineering the genetic code of a microbe.[5][6][7]

Significance[edit]

Davis' work has been featured in articles in Scientific American,[8] Nature magazine, and several books. He is frequently invited to speak at universities, labs, and art institutes.[9] Joe Davis's life was further detailed in a feature-length documentary about Davis entitled Heaven and Earth and Joe Davis.[10][11][12] Davis has had many media appearances including two spots on the Colbert Report. In 2001, the Washington Post termed Davis the "éminence grise of the 'bioart' movement", saying further, "Davis eschews the art versus science argument, insisting that he speaks both languages and could not possibly tear the two disciplines apart in his own mind".[13]

His work has further significance in documenting and critiquing early attempts at steganographic encoding of culturally important messages and images for future generations or extraterrestrial cultures.[6] Additionally, Davis has contributed to projects associated with the DIYbio movement of 2008. He has said that he does not wish to create green rabbits or purple dogs, but rather to manipulate the reams of silent, "junk" DNA that comprise more than ninety percent of an organism's genetic code.[14]

Other works[edit]

  • Audio Microscope - a microscope that translates light information into sound allowing you to "hear" living cells, each with its own "acoustic signature."
  • Experiments with how E. coli respond to jazz, and other sounds, with Andrew Zaretsky[4]
  • Putting a map of the Milky Way into the ear of a transgenic mouse
  • "Primordial" clocks - a project surrounding a theory that life spontaneously self-assembled
  • Plans for channeling lightning bolts into a pulsed laser of almost unparalleled energy and into towering sculptures that would change the bolts' color and emit incredibly loud tones[4]
  • Poetica Vaginal - a signal sent to several nearby star systems fashioned from the sound of vaginal contractions[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joan Brigham (summer 1990). "Steam Heat". Places 6: 42–49. 
  2. ^ Joe Davis (18-Nov-2009). Centauri Dreams blog ""Rubisco Stars" transmission to extraterrestrials". 
  3. ^ "ET: Check your voicemail (from MIT News)". 24-Nov-2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Brilliantly Weird World of MIT’s 'Mad' Scientist". The Daily Galaxy. Oct 2008. 
  5. ^ "Viewing Space". 
  6. ^ a b Joe Davis. "Artistic Molecules, Microbes, and the "Listening Microscope". "New Media" is Very Old". 
  7. ^ Joe Davis (1996). "Microvenus". Art Journal 55 (1): 70–74. doi:10.2307/777811. JSTOR 777811. 
  8. ^ Gibbs, W. Wayt (April 2001). "Art as a form of life (profile of Joe Davis)" (full text copy: reference verified at [1]). Scientific American. 
  9. ^ "Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial, 2013". 
  10. ^ "Heaven and Earth and Joe Davis. The documentary.". 
  11. ^ "Heaven and Earth and Joe Davis. Video Excerpt". 
  12. ^ "Director Peter Sasowsky". 
  13. ^ Pamela Ferdinand (Dec-2001). "Art and Science: At MIT, Science Gives New Life to Art". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Emily Voigt (fall/winter 2009). "The Art is Alive!". Isotope: A Journal of Literary Science and Nature Writing. 
  15. ^ Marshall, Michael. "Earth calling: A short history of radio messages to ET". NewScientist. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 

External links[edit]