Curator Melentie Pandilovski
Artists Trish Adams, Bio-Kino (Guy Ben-Ary & Tanja Visosevic), BioHome (Catherine Fargher & Terumi Narushima), André Brodyk, Gary Cass & Donna Franklin, FOaM (Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney), Niki Sperou, Paul Thomas in collaboration with Kevin Raxworthy, Tissue Culture & Art Project (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr)
Exhibition Biotech Art – Revisited 9 April – 2 May 2009
Opening 6pm Wednesday 8 April
Guest Speaker Professor Gavin Brown, the Inaugural Director of The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus).
→ Listen to Melentie Pandilovski talk about the project at ABC online
The Biotech Art – Revisited project plans to explore connections between art, culture, biotechnology & genomics, with leading Australian and international artists and theorists set to present their recent works. Biotech Art – Revisited includes an exhibition (of the same name), a workshop titled Vital micro-ecologies: splice, dice, duplicate, and a free public symposium titled Life, death & biotechnia.
The works in the exhibition will present an array of approaches — from the humorous and playful to the deadly serious — regarding the way we think about the origins of life, the scale and dimensions of living matter, to relationships with nourishment, death, fashion and appearance. Australia's leading international artists in the field – Tissue Cutlure & Art Project (Oran Catts & Ionatt Zurr) – will exhibit mark II of their award winning NoArk - the name of the bioreactor that houses a 'chimerical blob' or a sub-life neo-organism. What to call these semi-living cells is called to question, how to think about them at all? Made from various living tissue samples the blob still participates, the artists assert, in the domain of things we term 'living'. BioHome (Catherine Fargher and Teruma Narushima) will exhibit/perform The Chromosome Knitting Project, an event that blurs the distinction between home and laboratory, between expert and novice. With The Living Screen, Guy Ben-Ary & Tanya Visosevic take a bio-cinematic approach that considers ‘Bio-Art as a Freak Show’.
Images from top: Paul Thomas and Kevin Raxworthy Nanoessence. 3D environment representing 13 layers from progressive scans of a HaCat cell by an atomic force microscope 2009 (screenshot); BioHome (Catherine Fargher & Terumi Narushima), ChromoKnit, video still, 2007. Courtesy the artists
Wednesday 8th April
10am – 5pm
Venue: Mercury Cinema
Admission is free.
Convenor Melentie Pandilovski
Speakers Marcello Costa FAA, Professor of Neurophysiology, Flinders University; Linda Cooper, Director of the Bragg Initiative in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet South Aust; Niki Sperou, Dr Catherine Fargher & Terumi Narushima, Oron Catts, Dr Paul Thomas, Tania Visosevic, Vicki Sowry, Andre Brodyk, Dr Trish Adams
Life, death & biotechnia is a one-day symposium that brings together the artists participating in the Biotech Art – Revisited project, along with others involved in the discourses surrounding art/science collaborations. Many of the speakers were involved in the EAF's 2004 Art in the Biotech Era project, and their work is represented in the 2008 publication of the same name. The symposium offers a chance for the participants and the audience to consider the changes in the cultural landscape relating to art and biotechnology over the last five years. The artists will present their most recent questions, understandings and misunderstandings around areas as broad and opaque as ethical relationships to partial life, the endless limitations and opportunities for artists and scientists to (mis)understand the others disciplines, challenges for all kinds of taxonomies, the methods and manners of the 'infiltration' of biotechnology into every facet of ordinary life.
Come along, entry is free. Bookings can be made by emailing email@example.com include your name and those of any others attending with you.
image: Gary Cass & Donna Franklin, 'Decay' (detail) Micro 'be' Fermented Fashion. Performer Jennieka Chattelle. Photo by Bewley Shaylor. Skin to Skin, Fremantle Arts Centre, 2008
Tuesday 14 – Friday 17 April
led by Niki Sperou
Venue: Department of Medical Biotechnology, Flinders University
Image: BioHome (Catherine Fargher & Terumi Narushima), ChromoKnit, video still, 2007
Trish Adams completed her Doctor of Visual Arts in 2005. Her thesis explored the impact on expressions and representations of corporeality of experimental techniques in biomedical engineering and involved an inter-disciplinary collaboration with a scientist at the School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland. Trish explored the recent groundbreaking techniques in adult stem cell research by assuming the role of a 'human guinea pig'. She personalised her engagement with the scientific data by taking the source material from her own blood and carrying out the experiments herself. Trish has presented her research outcomes at conferences such as "Speculation and Innovation" and ARC Biennial, Brisbane, 2005; New Constellations: Art, Science & Society, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006; Perth Digital Art & Culture Conference, 2007 and ISEA, 2008. She is currently artist-in-residence at the Visual & Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, and The University of Queensland.
Bio-Kino (Guy Ben-Ary & Tanya Visosevic)
Tanja Visosevic (aka. tanyavision, tanya V & Citizen TV), born 1971, is a Perth-based artist. Visosevic’s interdisciplinary art practice employs the technologies and strategies of moving image, performance and bio-art to explore the cultural and philosophical terrains that consume her. Many of her obsessions deal with the life and death instincts, identity politics and the side effects of new technologies. Visosevic has contributed to a number of group exhibitions and engaged audiences in a range of performances, including; XYZ - Ice Cream Factory, ARTRAGE Festival, (2007); New Revelations, Revelations Film Festival, Spectrum Gallery, (2007); Phosphorus 15, Perth Centre for Photography, (2007); The Living Screen, BEAP_Works, John Curtin Gallery, Perth, (2006) and; Mobile Journeys, Opera House Studio, Sydney. Visosevic is also a film critic/theorist and currently teaches video production at Edith Cowan University.
Dr Catherine Fargher is a performer, writer and teacher working in radio, contemporary performance, new media/hybrid arts, puppetry, television and theatre. As a writer, Catherine has had over twenty scripts produced for companies including the Sydney Opera House, Sidetrack Theatre, Vitalstatistix, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, the Jessica Wilson Company and the Australian National Broadcasting Corporation. Catherine has performed widely in cabaret and contemporary performance in Australia. In 1998 she toured with other Australian, UK and New York artists for ‘It’s Queer up North’ in Manchester, Glasgow, Warwick and London as well as WOW Café New York. In 2002 she was funded by the Australia Council New Media Fund for the Motherload project, exploring genetic science and human reproductive futures. She has recently completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at Wollongong University, developing performance texts from bioethical fables. Her bioethical fable Dr Egg and The Man with No Ear was adapted for new a media/puppetry production at the Sydney Opera House in July 2007 and toured to Chicago (REDMOON) in 2008. She is currently working as a lecturer in screen and stage writing at Wollongong University and writing a graphic novel.
Terumi Narushima is a Wollongong-based composer who writes instrumental as well as electronic music. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney and obtained a Master of Music (Composition) from Sydney Conservatorium in 2003. Her compositions have been performed in concerts broadcast on Australian radio and she has also worked as a sound designer/composer for experimental short films which have been screened at festivals in Australia and overseas. Her main musical interests include exploring alternative tuning systems and her sound installation, Tritriadic Chimes: bells in just intonation, has been presented at festivals including Carnivale Multicultural Arts Festival at the Sydney Opera House (Australia 2001), MicroFest (USA 2001) and Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival (USA 2007). She is currently doing a PhD in Music at the University of Wollongong with Greg Schiemer as her supervisor, and is a part time lecturer in composition at the University of Wollongong.
André Brodyk is genetic artist and researcher who uses genetic protocols to create new genetic art media as a basis of creative inquiry. Brodyk’s practice-based research is centred on interpretations of recombinant DNA technologies and the creation of biochemically compatible novel molecular material made from ostensibly inanimate sources. Currently this involves research into areas of the genome, which are known as non-coding RNAs, which have been dismissed because of prevailing misunderstandings about their function in lower and higher order organisms. Brodyk has undertaken numerous residencies inside molecular laboratories most recently at The Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Queensland.
Gary Cass & Donna Franklin
Gary Cass has been a key scientific collaborator with numerous art and science projects based at the University of Western Australia; contributing a vast range of skills in agricultural and biological sciences to ongoing projects. Cass is a founding member of Bioalloy, an ongoing research endeavor into artistic Cyborgian systems developed in the FNAS laboratories at UWA. Cass’ Bioalloy and the Body project with contemporary performer, S. Chandrasekaran has been exhibited in the Venice Biennale 07 (fringe event), Documenta 07 and BEAP 07.
Donna Franklin has collaborated in various projects working with technologies of microbiology. She recently presented papers on fungi and the collaborative project Micro ‘be’ at Aspire 08, Edith Cowan University and The University of Western Australia. During her Master of Arts at ECU, she was awarded an artist residency at SymbioticA: Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts.
In 2008 she exhibited works in Skin to Skin FAC, Techno Threads Science Gallery Dublin, A Dyeing Art MAC, Ultimo Science Festival Sydney, Coded Cloth ANAT Samstag Museum Adelaide.
Donna lectures at The School of Contemporary Arts, Faculty of Education and the Arts, Edith Cowan University.
FoAM is committed to growing inclusive, resilient and abundant worlds. By seeking out and connecting people in the interstitial spaces between professional and cultural boundaries, we are smoothing the way for a community of ‘generalists’. This diverse community enables its members to tackle complex challenges, in the cultural, as well as technological environments. While facilitating workshops, or mixing digital and physical realities, FoAM's collaborators encourage ethically and environmentally sustainable creative practices. Our motto, ‘grow your own worlds’ alludes to our mission; to move from wasteful consumption and mindless dependence to responsible participation in all aspects of our lives.
Adelaide Artist Niki Sperou investigates the nexus between art, science and culture and the role of this connection in the shaping of human identity. Influenced by her cultural background she creates 'Chimeras' which allude to cultural hybridity, biotechnology and the fanciful object or idea. She has participated in workshops by BioArtists Oron Catts, Gary Cass and Eduardo Kac at the Experimental Art Foundation. In 2004 she participated in Heath Buntings DIY DNA DAY. Since 2006 she has been the artist in residence at the Dept of Medical Biotechnology Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia. She was a core group co-ordinator of the "With the Body in Mind" science and art event held at the Flinders Medical Centre in 2007. Niki Sperou will lead the workshop Vital ecologies: splice, dice, duplicate
Paul Thomas in collaboration with Kevin Raxworthy
Dr Paul Thomas is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Studio Electronic Arts (SEA) at Curtin University of Technology & the Artistic Director of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2007. He is the coordinator of the Studio Electronic Arts (SEA) at Curtin University of Technology and was the founding Director of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth. Paul has been working in the area of electronic arts since 1981 when he co-founded the group Media-Space. Media-Space was part of the first global link up with artists connected to ARTEX. From 1981-1986 the group was involved in a number of collaborative exhibitions and was instrumental in the establishment a substantial body of research. In 2000 he founded the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth. Paul’s current research project ‘Nanoessence’ explores the space between life and death at a nano level. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Nano Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology and SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. The previous project ‘Midas’ was researching at a nano level the transition phase between skin and gold. Paul is also currently working on an intelligent architecture project for the Curtin Mineral and Chemistry Research Precinct Public art project. The art project will be integrated into the two new buildings that will form the Mineral and Chemistry Research and Education Precinct. Paul is the co-chair of the Re:live media art history conference 2009. Paul is a practicing electronic artist whose work has exhibited internationally and can be seen on his website Visiblespace.
Kevin Raxworthy is senior technician in the Studio of Electronic Arts (SEA) at Curtin University of Technology. Kevin has been working in the area of media art since 1983. He was the technical support officer for the Biennale of Electronic Art Perth 2002 and 2004. Kevin has been working in collaboration with Paul Thomas on the Midas Project that was exhibited at Enter 3 Prague in 2007. In their current project Nanoessence he is writing an algorithm based on cellular automaton. The algorithm is affected and stimulated by using the different information gained from sensors that read the user’s breath. Kevin’s work looks at the nexus between artificial life, code space and art. He is currently completing his masters in electronic Art.
The Tissue Culture & Art Project (TC&A) was set to explore the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression. We are investigating our relationships with the different gradients of life through the construction/growth of a new class of object/being – that of the Semi-Living. These are parts of complex organisms which are sustained alive outside of the body and coerced to grow in predetermined shapes. These evocative objects are a tangible example that brings into question deep rooted perceptions of life and identity, concept of self, and the position of the human in regard to other living beings and the environment. We are interested in the new discourses and new ethics/epistemologies that surround issues of partial life and the contestable future scenarios they are offering us.
Oron Catts is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA.
Dr. Ionat Zurr is a researcher and the Academic Coordinator of SymbioticA.
All images courtesy the artists.