Genetic art as artistic counterpan of genetic engineering is on the one hand intended to simulate processes of life with the same modern technological tools and methods as the latter. On the other hand, it is to use traditional methods and strategies for a critical reflection on the potential consequences of such simulations and the synthetic creation of life. Genetic art thus embraces:
1. EVOLUTIONARY ART:
Artificial interventions in growth processes (acceleration, stopping, slowing down and modification of growth processes) and structural modifications - either in the biological material itself or on the immaterial level of the computer simulation.
2. BIOGENETIC ART:
Biological processes of procreation and reproduction of different forms of life, from micro-organisms, for instance bacteria, to low organisms, for instance ants - either on a biological oron a digital level.
3. GENETIC ENGINEERING:
Genetic manipulation of foodstuffs, animals and human beings.
4. ALGORYTHMIC ART:
The life of language. Grammars of languages constitute a creation formalism that can be compared with the algorithm of plant growth In such grammars, information is furthermore encoded in such a way that they can serve as general models.
Three-dimensional, mechanical beings made of hard materials. These beings are characterized by a behaviour resembling that of living organisms, e.g. search mechanisms, self-preservation functions, stimulus-reaction patterns etc.
6. VIRTUAL BEINGS:
Virtual, computer-simulated beings are like the above-mentioned mechanical beings characterized by behaviour patterns resembling those of living beings, or by processes of life, for instance information encoding, reproduction and the extinction of sets of individuals (populations) breeding in open spaces.
7. ARTIFICIAL LIFE:
Machine configurations and programmes that constitute beings resembling living organisms and that interact with human beings either on an immaterial level, i.e. in a two dimensional space, or on a material level, i.e. in the threedimensional space.
Genetic art is dedicated to the research in the field of artificial life but at the same time serves to criticize this very discipline. It is one of the few contemporary forms of art that do not stay confined to the realms of art but which approach the central points of life.