Dr. Howard Boland is a multidisciplinary research-based artist working with biological and digital media. His innovative research in synthetic biology has produced novel visual expressions in bacteria culminating in UK’s first ever art exhibition featuring living genetically modified microorganisms. He is co-director and co-founder of the internationally recognised art-science collective and organisation C-LAB and his interdisciplinary artworks have been exhibited and presented worldwide. With strong technical and creative skills, his experience spans from artistic to scientific contexts where he has led award-winning projects.
His PhD Art from Synthetic Biology, situated between the School of Media, Art and Design and the School of Life Sciences, extended computational theories within digital art practices into synthetic biology and demonstrated that ‘living systems’ (e.g. bacteria) also have computational characteristics as information systems. The research involved 3-years immersive laboratory practice using recombinant ‘plastic’ biological processes to generate new visual art processes, images and modes of expressions. Its outcome provided a framework for lab-based art practices and established methods for exhibiting genetically modified organisms in public settings. The research won the Doctoral Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK.