Nature, Technology and Art: The Emergence of a New Relationship?*

The three-way relationship between nature, technology and the human subject has been a problematic and shifting one in the history of Western art and thought. In this article, the author begins by summarizing this history, pointing to the inadequacy of most theoretical accounts in the face of the growing interpenetration of the “natural” by the “technological” resulting from such developments as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. The author goes on to argue that the convergence between scientific developments in the field of artificial life and the emergent art movement points to the development of a new understanding of this relationship and a new role for the artist.