Telepresence and Bio Art

Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots
Eduardo Kac
A collection mapping the evolution of this renowned and provocative artist and creator of the controversial glow-in-the-dark, genetically engineered rabbit


For nearly two decades Eduardo Kac has been at the cutting edge of media art, first inventing early online artworks for the web and continuously developing new art forms that involve telecommunications and robotics as a new platform for art. Interest in telepresence, also known as telerobotics, exploded in the 1990s, and remains an important development in media art. Since that time, Kac has increasingly moved into the fields of biology and biotechnology.

Telepresence and Bio Art is the first book to document the evolution of bio art and the aesthetic development of Kac, the creator of the "artist's gene" as well as the controversial glow-in-the-dark, genetically engineered rabbit Alba. Kac covers a broad range of topics within media art, including telecommunications media, interactive systems and the Internet, telematics and robotics, and the contact between electronic art and biotechnology. Addressing emerging and complex topics, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary art.

Artist Eduardo Kac is internationally recognized for his interactive Internet installations and his bio art. A pioneer of telecommunications art in the pre-web '80s, Kac emerged in the early '90s with his radical telepresence and biotelematic works.

Eduardo Kac is an artist and Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Praise / Awards

  • "Kac's radical approach to the creation and presentation of the body as a wet host for artificial memory and "site-specific" work raises a variety of important questions that range from the status of memory in digital culture to the ethical dilemmas we are facing in the age of bioengineering and tracking technology. By now we are used to thinking of objects as containers of memory-what are the ethical implications of turning the human body into a host for artificial memory?"
    —Christiane Paul

  • "Eduardo Kac's work represents a turning point. What it questions is our current attitudes to creativity, taking that word in its most fundamental sense."
    —Edward Lucie-Smith

  • "The impact of Eduardo Kac's work on the contemporary art scene has been considerable. One can see the whole of the artist's audacious inventions and achievements as a decisive contribution in the realm of biotechnological and telecommunication art. His works introduce a vital new meaning into what had been known as the creative process while at the same time investing the notion of the artist-inventor with an original social and ethical responsibility."
    —Frank Popper

  • ". . . a useful history (and partially, a defense) of telematic art and cutting-edge experimentation with bodies, forms and technology. Kac's linear narrative—surely an ironic ordering, considering that he is exploring multi-layered and random 'sequences'!—provides a lucid introduction to the technology, art, and critical thinking on what is surely one of the most radical miscegenations in human history: of biology and informational science, with both being recast in art."
    Consciousness, Literature and the Arts

  • ". . . an important book in the field of media studies. . . . [I]t is important because it chronicles the history and development of electronic art from the unique perspective of one of its most prominent artists and theorists. The strength of the book is this insider's take of the art discussed, as well as its vast international scope and the naughty delight it offers with its many claims and prognostications about electronic art that have and have not come true."

  • " . . . a marvelous new collection of Kac's essays. Unlike so much art writing that puts me to sleep, these texts aren't filled with impenetrable theory or self-centered navel gazing. Rather, Kac writes clearly, engagingly, and humbly about the history (and possible futures) of this emerging art movement, and his place in it."

  • "Telepresence & Bio Art is the first full-length documentation of Kac's oeuvre, containing a timely aesthetic, political and historical analysis of his practice, as well as useful contextualization of his work within the broader fields of performance practice and new media art. Bringing together twelve years of writings, this volume offers at once a useful introduction to the overall field of new media art and an insight into what the author describes as 'the chronicle of a journey' covering fields as diverse as telepresence, telerobotics, biotelematics, biorobotics and transgenic art, of which Kac has, throughout the years, been a prominent and active representative."
    —Gabriella Giannachi, Contemporary Theatre Review

Look Inside

Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6.125 x 9.25.
  • 330pp.
  • 157 photographs including 11 page color insert.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2005
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06810-4

Add to Cart
  • $33.95 U.S.