Book details

Publication date: November 2008
Features: Colour throughout
Keywords: Art;Science
Subject(s): MEDICAL / Biotechnology, Science, Technology & Society, Art & Performance, Art & Performance / Art & Design, Art / Science, Pre-clinical medicine: basic sciences, Biotechnology, Art;Science, Art, Science
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Sean Caulfield. Sean Caulfield is Canada Research Chair and professor of Printmaking in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. He has exhibited his prints, drawings, and book works extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Timothy Caulfield. Timothy Caulfield is the Research Director of the Health Law Institute, professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, and a Senior Health Scholar with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. He is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and an active researcher on the social issues associated with biotechnology.

"...The current Art Gallery of Alberta exhibit is a more direct result of a 2007 Banff Centre residency between international artists and scientists. At the center of the residency swirled questions concerning the legal, ethical and social implications in technological advances, and how these issues intersect within the realm between the arts and sciences. ... Increasingly, the strange and the unknown are becoming known, and the limits of how far we go to explore the abyss of knowledge is the shakable foundation of the bioethical dilemma. New York-based Adam Zaretsky explores these limits with the heart of an artist and the soul of a scientist. ... Citing the creation of transgenetic creatures as art, where scientists have to choose a gene to create an organism between the imagination and an objective reality, Zaretsky is transparent about his practice, his concerns, and acknowledges that researchers for the most part have no clear idea of where and how far they are willing to go. 'The things I see in the labs: frogs with eyes coming out of the back of their heads that are connected to the part of the brain that hears instead of sees' he shares within shades of ambivalence and awe. 'Science lives on the edge of knowledge, trying to capture it, torture it until it reveals to us its secrets so that we can claim it. I think these ethical conundrums are worth it. I admit that it's not just a dream, but a nightmare, a real return of the repressed. We're afraid of creative thought leading the way.'" Amy Fung, Vue Weekly, Nov. 20, 2008.

This intriguing book is the brainchild of brothers Sean and Timothy Caulfield, both professors at the University of Alberta. From contributors in the worlds of art and science, essays, photographs, paintings and poetry explore the ramifications of bio-technology on the world. Each entry emphasizes the complexity of the topic, stressing how science and art often combine to present a more powerful argument than either could alone. All demonstrate how even microscopic elements in the laboratory impact life and that all of life is connected. Much of this book was part of an exhibit at the University of Alberta art museum. Distributed by Michigan State University Press. Oversize: 11x 10 inches. (Annotation ©2009 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)

"...Imagining Science [is] an innovative collaboration among scientists, artists, bioethicists and others that investigates numerous contentious bioethical issues, such as stem cell research, genetic testing, patenting of genes and genetic selection of offspring.... In his introductory essay, Timothy Caulfield touches on the controversial social, ethical, legal and religious issues gripping the field of biotechnology and opines that artists are an important voice among the various commentators. Indeed, some artists play the role of provocateur, presenting works inspired by the imagined (or unimaginable) possibilities of biotechnology and some of these works bring the public face-to-face with challenging and troublesome issues in a direct visceral way. The book features the work of 10 artists, along with 18 essays and a poem, all of which aim to shed new light from differing perspectives on biotechnology and the interplay between art and science.... It should appeal to a broad audience of general public as well as professionals (including artists) involved in the biosciences. When you look through it, have Google near at hand since the contributors provide or spin off many juicy references. While reading this book, I spent as much time eagerly surfing as I did looking at the actual pages. Probably a sure sign of a good read in our age." Stuart Kinmond, CMAJ, June 23, 2009

"Imagining Science is an exploration of where and how art and science interact....[It] addresses those expectations and perceptions [of science] with lush photos of evocative art installations and colourful prints beside clear, concise articles on everything from bioethics and genetics to policy and food. Most importantly, however, it brings these disparate groups of artists, scientists, and social commentators together." Kathleen Bell, SEE Magazine, July 30, 2009

"Brothers Tim and Sean Caulfield have collaborated with scientists, artists and social commentators to help everyone see science through art, and come to understand through visual and literary description how art dramatically affects (and is linked to) some of the world's most pressing issues. Their new the first of its kind to explore the ethical questions raised by biotechnology and social progress through art and essays. Through stunning original art and powerful, concise essays, Imagining Science creatively explores such controversial issues such as: stem cell research; creating half human, half beast 'Chimeras'; the influence of art on public policy; ramifications of technology on our environment; synthetic biology; and cloning and genetic testing.... Few books are ever the 'first' to do something truly unique. Imagining Science is one of these few." Charmed Magazine: Baltimore Life, Arts & Culture, January 2010 [see full review at]

"[The editors'] combined expertise guided their excellent selection of contributors to provide a thoughtful and accurate mapping of the larger conversation about bioscience, technology, art, and social concerns.... Imagining Science makes clear that the art/science interface is becoming a productive field of study with a growing group of its own theorists, critics, curators, and historians. To those already entrenched in the debate, Imagining Science offers a fresh perspective, summarizing the hot topics. For the uninitiated, the collection of words and images is an inviting introduction....It deserves to be read closely and considered carefully. Imagining Science should be a springboard to further exploration of the rich interaction of science with other powerful social forces and institutions." JD Talasek, Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2010 [Full review at]

"[The book] touches on the controversial social, ethical, legal and religious issues gripping the field of biotechnology and states that artists are an important voice among the various commentators. Indeed, artists can play the role of change agent, presenting works inspired by possibilities of biotechnology. The book features the work of 10 artists, along with 18 essays and a poem, all of which aim to bring differing perspectives on biotechnology and the interplay between art and science." Canadian BioTechnologist 2.0 [Blog accessed August 10, 2010]

"Compiled and co-edited by Sean and Timonty Caulfield, Imagining Science is a distinctive collection of informative essays and memorable original artwork by artists, scientists and social commentators from around the world addressing complex and controversial legal, ethical and social concerns about advances in biotechnology ranging from stem cell research, to cloning, to genetic testing. The result is a synthesis of seminal scientific and creative research. Imagining Science is a unique series of collaborations highlighting the functional role art plays in accessibly assessing biomedical technologies and challenging ethical, religious and philosophical boundaries. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, Imagining Science is highly recommended for personal, professional, academic, and community library reference collections and supplemental reading lists." Midwest Book Review, September 2009

New York Book Show - First place in Four Colour Book category, and Best Book overall at 2009 New York Book Show, Scholarly & Professional Category

The Alcuin Society Citations for Excellence in Book Design in Canada - Prose Non Fiction, Illustrated (Honourable Mention)

ISBNs: 9780888645081 978-0-88864-508-1 Title: imagining science