Tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression.
This is an intriguing project carried out by Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr in Collaboration with Guy Ben-Ary. It's an artistic research and development project into the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression.
In the last five years, we have grown tissue sculptures, "semi-living" objects, by culturing cells on artificial scaffolds in bioreactors. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to culture and sustain, for long periods, tissue constructs of varying geometrical complexity and size, and by that creating a new artistic palette.
The acquisition of living cells and tissues for artistic purposes has created concerns and has focussed attention on the ethical and social implications of creating "semi-living" objects. Thus our goal is to create a contestable vision of futuristic objects that are partly artificially constructed and partly grown/born. These semi-living objects consist of both synthetic materials and living biological matter from complex organisms. These entities (sculptures) blur the boundaries between what is born/manufactured, animate/inanimate and further challenge our perceptions and our relations toward our bodies and constructed environment.
In this project we have used pig's bone marrow stem cells and three dimensional bio-absorbable polymer scaffolds in order to grow three sets of wings.
The Pig Wings installation presents the first ever wing shaped objects grown using living pig tissue, alongside the environment in which such endeavour can take place. We will attempt to present living tissue engineered pig wings that will be animated using living muscles. This absurd work presents some serious ethical questions regarding a near future where semi-living objects (objects which are partly alive and partly constructed) exists and animal organs will be transplanted into humans. What kind of relationships we will form with such objects? How are we going to treat animals with human DNA? How will we treat humans with animal parts? What will happen when these technologies will be used for purposes other then strictly saving life?
Why do I blog this? still a sunday afternoon browse, I was also wondering about tissues as a new interface (input/output) for certain technologies.