Bio-art and "meat production without victimization"
Via Networked Performance, a very insightful special issue of CIAC's electronic magazine about bio-art: There are articles about various artists ranging from Eduardo Kac (the guy who did the the lime-green rabbit) to Katy High's embracing animals. It's a very up-to-date picture of the bio-art scene. My favorite piece in this journal is the Disembodied Cuisine by the Tissue Culture & Art Project (Oron CATTS & Ionat ZURR)
In Disembodied Cuisine, a performative installation whose theme was "meat production without victimization", Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr and Guy Ben-Ary from the Australian Tissue Culture & Art Project cultivated tissue to create a pseudo-positivist junk-food alternative to massive factory farming. Edible, "semi-living sculptures" were cultivated out of isolated muscle cells from frogs on biodegradable polymer scaffolds in bio-reactors. Bio-artists 'fed' them daily with a nutrient solution during their cell-cultured lives in a gallery-laboratory featuring a sterile hood and CO2 incubators. Eight weeks later, at a nouvelle cuisine cookout whose invited guests included the happy creatures spared from slaughter as a direct result of the project, they were flambéed in Calvados and devoured. Menu-handbills advertising the barbecue were distributed at the local farmers' market so that the typical contemporary art audience could be enriched by the presence of butchers interested in the prospect of alternative meat production.
For people who are not aware of it, the "Tissue Culture & Art Project" is hosted by SymbioticA:
SymbioticA is a research laboratory dedicated to the artistic exploration of scientific knowledge in general, and biological technologies in particular. It is located in The School of Anatomy & Human Biology at The University of Western Australia. SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department