Living Culture

Programming Series:


Living Culture is a screening program of short moving image works addressing the impact of genetics and biotechnology on art. The screening complements work produced in the 2006 Summer School and Digital Day Camp programs presented in an exhibition devoted to similar themes.

Curated by Melanie Crean and Sophie Springer, Living Culture interweaves work that is aesthetically informed by genetics with documentation of artworks that appropriate scientific methodologies and political commentary about the ethical nature of scientific discovery. The formal aesthetic works are often created using algorithms derived from the study of genetics or influenced by biological forms and evolutionary processes. Though these forms appear organic, they cannot actually be found in nature, subverting what we perceive as natural. The scientific projects creatively explore the philosophical impact of new technologies on the understanding of biology, human life and culture. These works, often recreating scientific procedures for artistic purposes, also question who owns scientific method, and the nature of truth that science projects. Projects explore how the physical body can be modified and extended via technology, and address issues of ownership and surveillance as humans are increasingly viewed as repositories of data.

Despite the difference between documentary and aesthetic approaches, it is interesting to see how artists, filmmakers and activists have appropriated a range of similar biotechnological development strategies in order to grapple with such intricate topics as ethics, identity, and human physicality. The evening is intended to gather those interested in artist exploration of biotech/genetic issues, who approach the subject from different angles, to provide a forum for discussion. The screening will include work from: Oron Catts, Gina Czarnecki, Gair Dunlop, Bradley Eros, Lorenzo Oggiano, Casey Reas, Paul Vanouse, Adam Zaretsky and Ionat Zurr.

The artist Justine Cooper will also be on hand to present her four channel video installation Scynescape. The images are real-time recordings of the artist manipulating samples of her hair, skin and mouth using a scanning electron microscope. Mazen Murad + Tammy Brennan composed a soundtrack that includes audio samples of biological mechanisms, such as bloodflow throughout the body, the scratching of skin, creaking of bones and saliva moving around the mouth to create a fusion between the organic and the electronic.

People: Adam Zaretsky, Bradley Eros, Casey Reas, Gair Dunlop, Gina Czarnecki, Justine Cooper, Lorenzo Oggiano, Melanie Crean, Oron Catts, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, Paul Vanouse, Sophie Springer
Research: Moving Image Studio