*Choose Life*

On: March 19, 2011
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About Ourania
New media.

   

Ourania Dalalaki, Ashiq Khondker, Maritje Onjering, Hans Terpstra

mini-exhibition curated for the Critical Media Art seminar.

Disengage from the fear of technology, engage living forms through technicity, transform life, choose life.

Living, Semi-living, bio-creations that tactically aim to shape life.

Art as an accident, as failure, as creative evolution, as a tactic of resistance.

Art engaging life, questioning science, encompassing technology.

In this exhibition, living and active creations serve as statements for animal extinction, for human awareness of self and identity, and against violence; all tactically providing information in order to demystify science and transgenic production, to educate and initiate a discourse where bio-data will become meaningful outside their primary scientific context.

With an apparent interest in social, political, scientific and technical possibilities of biotechnology and a strong ‘DIY science’ spirit, this exhibition examines the wish of bio-artists to reveal hidden scientific narratives, to illustrate the non-neutral character of technology. It attempts to investigate different modes of bio-art, the ways they portray the general reaction of art when it merges with bio-data, bio-knowledge, biotechnology, the artists’ desire to critically comment on the contemporary commodification of biotechnology practices.

These artworks emerge as hybrid creations, as parts of the artists’ existence, urging us: to disengage from our fear, to explore the potentials of technology as a tool, to use the outcome as a form of resistance, to transform life, to choose life, because “Art is Life”.

1) MOLECULAR INVASION (CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE, 2002)

http://www.critical-art.net/MolecularInvasion.html

Molecular Invasion is a science-theater work and a clear example of /fuzzy biological sabotage/. Created by the Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), it is basically a live public experiment, where the artists try to initiate a contestational discourse. With Molecular Invasion, CAE pleads for a demystification of transgenics by informing the public; only then will the fear of transgenics be replaced by consciousness. In this way, individual agency and collectivity are empowered and enabled to shape biotechnological politics. Through demystification efforts and informative tactics, the authority of the scientific personality becomes less powerful, and the hierarchy of the expert and amateur can be suspended. The creative team of CAE attempts to underline the class politics, economics and logic of human commodification implicated in eugenics.

In Molecular Invasion, the students try to reverse-engineer the genetically modified corn and plants by using nontoxic chemical disrupters. The CAE have stated for their work that “in this theater of live public experimentation, we attempt to transform artificial biological traits of adaptability into ones of susceptibility, as well as establish a model for contestational biology” (Critical Art Ensemble 2002).

2) SEMI-LIVING WORRY DOLLS (ORON CATTS & IONAT ZURR, 2011)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGhyvGJS_3U

An example of semi-living art, the semi-living worry dolls. Inspired by worry dolls from Guatamala, (that are traditionally used by children to speak out and confide their worries) these dolls are made out of polymers, a molecule made out of a sequence of multiple comparable parts, and planted in with living cells. During the exhibition, the cells will replace the polymer with the help of a bioreactor that acts as a body. With this artwork the artists want to actually represent the current stage of cultural limbo, as mixed with wonder and fear of technology, through the innocent form of this created semi-living objects- dolls.

3) AFTERLIFE: IMMORTALISATION OF KIRA AND RAMA (SVENJA JOHNI KRATZ, 2011)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG1ejmekITg&playnext=1&list=PL90F77F01A0BF1619

“Immortalisation of Kira and Rama”: an artwork of Svenja Johni Krarz. The artwork has been named after Kira and Rama: two calves from which she extracted foetal cells to build this creation. The cells are immortalised through the procedure of using specific DNA molecule with viral vectors. Kratz also implemented other parts of the calves (such as hearts and parts of the bones). The purpose of the artist is to highlight the fact that the calves are victims in every level of consumption and that the boundaries between harm and benefit are blurry, indistinguishable. This critique-based focus on consumerism adds a political layer on this creation.

4) SKIN GUN (JOANNEKE MEESTER, 2004)

http://cellar.org/2004/skingun.jpg

http://www.neatorama.com/images/2006-08/skin-gun-joanneke-meester.jpg

Dutch artist Joanneke Meester gained international fame with her “Skin Pistol”, created back in 2004. The artwork consists of a skin patchwork covering small pistol; the skin was surgically removed from her own stomach. This highly-debated and extremely criticized  artwork aims to act as a statement against violence in society.

5) SKIN CULTURES ( Art Orienté Objet, 1996)

http://www.fact.tv/videos/watch/191 ( 08.35 – 11.40 )

http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/wow/0aacultiirioi9.jpg

http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2008/03/skinterfaces-conference-and-ar.php (sk-interface conference).

An “active object” (Art orienté objet 2008) that includes the artists’ existence, an alive hybrid of pig,male and female DNA that focuses on the awareness of autonomy, identity, /genos/ (species). This artwork of the French duet (Marion Laval-Jeantet & Benoît Mangin) aims to uncover Skin Culture,  act as trangenic and transpecies sculptures used, in Laval-Jeantet’s words as “miniature bombs for human awareness of eachother”. As projections of a hybrid world these series of “manipulated tattoos” http://we-make-money-not-art.com/ consist of the artists’ biopsies, set down on a pigs dermis and tattooed with animal images (usually images of endangered species) in an attempt to strengthen  the artworks’ evocative power.

6) MEART, THE SEMI LIVING ARTIST (symbioticA, 2001)

http://www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au/exhibitions/artbots_video1.html

http://www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au/images/about/maertchart.pdf

http://www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au/project/project_portraits.html

Meart is a bio-cybernetic artist that explores epistemological, ethical and aesthetic issues concerning the use of living neurons for ethno-centric end. They wanted to propose whether or not a semi-living entity could be as creative and unpredictable as a living creature.

This artwork is made with the assistance of rat neurons, placed on a multi electrode plate. Basically the procedure of its creation is analysed as such: first, pictures from gallery visitors are converted into a stimulation map. Then the neural activity is measured and decoded by a software/ computer program and sent to a pneumatic (mechanically moved) arm, which creates a drawing out of it. The drawing is finally compared with the original picture and the difference is sent back to the lab as another stimulation map. This entire loop or process is marked on a paper, that serves as the final, drawn, visualised result.

7) HER OWN DNA/ LIVING  DRAWINGS (HUNTER COLE, 2006)

http://www.huntercole.org/artgallery/livingbacterialdrawings/herowndna.html

In an artwork combining science and art, Cole assembled a series of photos of living bacterial drawings created on seaweed nutrient agar in petri dishes, along with works on paper and digital photography collages. The bacteria light up through lux genes which bring about their bioluminescent nature. With these she has created line drawings, and let the bacteria become collaborators of the artwork by simply living and ultimately dying. The nutrients in the seaweed gradually diminish in the area where most bacteria are concentrated, resembling an analogy with the real world where populations gradually use up their resources until they are exhausted. The drawing changes by the bacteria dying and fading into darkness. The music in the background is based on the protein strings from her own DNA.

[7a) Bonus: DNA / NOO 1  (ROBERT B. LISEK part of SUNUS )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luBa3HoWyVk ]


8) ACOUSTIC BOTANY (DAVID BENQUE, 2010)

Currently exhibited at  the ” Becoming TRANSNATURAL” exhibition, open till April 1st 2011 @ Trouw Amsterdam
http://www.davidbenque.com/projects/acoustic-botany

Music, as a particularly anthropocentric understanding of sound phenomena, is brought back to its roots (pun intended) in natural occurrences. In line with our common tradition of shaping nature for our most irrational desires, the plants are engineered to produce sounds of timbre and frequency discernible to the human ear. They are then grafted, placed and configured based on their acoustic properties to produce harmonic arrangements.
If technology is what makes us human, this artwork imbues the plant with humanity.

[Bonus: 8b) NATURAL HISTORY OF THE ENIGMA,( EDUARDO KAC, 2009)
http://www.ekac.org/nat.hist.enig.html
]

9) CLOACA (WIM DELVOYE, 2007)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcmIUqN-rg


A sculpture that digests food as humans do, using acids and living enzymes and excreting a similar biomaterial (feces) at the end. Taking this fundamental animal function, and transposing it into the techno-mechanical realm, brings to question notions of cybernetic processes within the network of exchange.
Interesting also is to watch reactions as the machine is fed luxury food items.

[9a) SHIT PERFUME “SURPLUS” (JAMMIE NICHOLAS, 2011)

http://www.viceland.com/wp/2011/03/when-life-gives-you-shit-turn-it-into-perfume /]

As Piero Manzoni famously canned and sold his own shit in an Art World context, Surplus takes the same vain in an attempt to elevate (sh)it to the luxury commodity context. ]

10) E-CHROMI (ALEXANDRA DAISY GINSBERG collaboration with JAMES KING & THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITT iGEM 2009 TEAM)

Currently exhibited at  the ” Becoming TRANSNATURAL” exhibition, open till April 1st 2011 @ Trouw Amsterdam
http://www.daisyginsberg.com/projects/echromi.html

In line with the Preemptive Media Collective’s 2006 AIR project providing localised networked weather information alternative to sparser stationary weather stations, E-Chromi provides a localised tool for personal health monitoring alternative to healthcare institutions. By thus distributing agency, it is dealing with our excrement before it enters the collective and collaborative space of the sewage system as a thing — thus providing a valuable contribution to what Eugene Thacker defines as “bio-knowledge”.

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References:

Critical Art Ensemble, ‘Transgenic Production and Cultural Resistance: A Seven-Point Plan’, in Molecular Invasion, New York: Autonomedia, 2002, pp. 58-75.

3 Responses to “*Choose Life*”
  • March 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    […] the original watch free online live stream video: Masters of Media » *Choose Life* Det här inlägget postades i Okategoriserade och har märkts med etiketterna artists, […]

  • March 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    is this an exhibition or a web page listing some bioartists? if the former – where when etc etc?
    if the latter….why not just say so?

  • March 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    As mentioned at the top, it is an “exhibition” curated to fulfill the requirements of the New Media (MA) seminar of Critical Media Art. The works mentioned above where “exhibited” in class- a written report of that was supposed to be published here.
    You can also find the rest of the exhibitions published here. For example: http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2011/03/06/the-rebirth-of-data-between-database-and-narrative/

    Two of the works are part of the “Becoming TransNatural” exhibition, currently on at Trouw, Amsterdam.

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