[NetBehaviour] CROSSING OVER: Genetic Manipulation and Bioengineering.

info info at furtherfield.org
Wed Nov 5 13:03:21 CET 2008

Genetic Manipulation and Bioengineering

Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS
2 October - 21 November 2008
Admission free
See www.rigb.org for opening times and further details

Crossing Over is an exhibition of contemporary art at the Royal
Institution of Great Britain that addresses the highly topical subject
of genetic manipulation and bioengineering. Bringing together art,
design and science, the artworks by twelve artists and designers
investigate the metaphors, potentialities and anxieties of this much
debated area.

The different approaches and subjects tackled by the artists reflect
the breath and complexity of the biosciences. From an animation that
interlaces past and present speculations of cloning, to interactive
brain cells, topiary lambs that reference transgenic research and
bioluminescent portraits.

Crossing Over engages with the transfer of art, design and
biotechnologies, addressing questions on the shifting boundaries
between biological and biotechnological, human and non-human, subject
and object. The exhibition stands as a benchmark in the bioscience
debate, reflecting this time of intense speculation and fear,
parliamentary legislation and rapid advancement.

Crossing Over is about this moment in the history of bioscience, which
will sustain progressions even during the exhibitions own duration.
Crossing Over does not attempt to resolve the complexities that arise
out of biotechnologies, but rather, through contemporary art and
design, highlights some of the concerns as well as possibilities they

The multi-disciplinary works, all developed specifically for the
exhibition, are displayed throughout the Royal Institution’s newly
refurbished building. Steeped in a long history of scientific
discovery, the Royal Institution provides a congruent backdrop to the
exhibition, with works punctuating and intercepting the building’s
public spaces. Nestled within the library bookshelves, adorning the
opulent grand entrance, shown in amongst the institution’s historical
collections, and screened across the airy atrium, the situating of
works creates a journey of discovery for the visitor.

Curators: Dr Caterina Albano (Artakt, Central Saint Martins College)
and Rowan Drury.

Scientific advisers: Prof. Richard Ashcroft (Queen Mary College);
Dr Chris Mason (Advanced Centre for Biomedical Engineering,
UCL) and Prof. Sarah Franklin (Bios Centre, London
School of Economics).

Supported by: The Wellcome Trust, the Arts Council of England
and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
The Royal Institution

List of works
Film director Phoebe von Held takes as her starting point Denis
Diderot’s eighteenth century text, D’Alembert’s Dream. The resulting
animation interlaces later-day speculations of cloning made in the
texts with today’s scientific insight, and uncovers the uncanny
similarities between fears of the past and present.

Material Beliefs, a collective of designers (Elio Caccavale, Tobie
Kerridge, James Auger, Jimmy Loizeau, Aleksandar Zivanovic, David Muth
and Susanne Soares) who collaborate with scientists, have created a
display of biotechnological products and devices to deal with
potential situations made possible by progressions in bioscience: An
interface for a user to interact with a culture of brain cells cared
for in a distant laboratory; a group of carnivorous robots; a system
that uses live monitoring technology for surveying a child’s
orientation and condition.

Eggebert and Gould have cultivated a pair of, at once curious and
grotesque, topiary lambs. With reference the ancient Scythian myth (of
a lamb growing from a plant) the work contemplates transgenic research
and notions of manipulating life forms.

Alex Bunn’s sculpture, Quaibrid, explores the possibilities of
reshaping and manipulating body image. The bust is formed using
multiple high-resolution medical scan topography of different tissues
of the body that are fused with architectural components to create a
unique hybrid portrait.

The myth of the fountain of eternal youth is used by Carl Stevenson to
explore anxieties around genetic enhancement and regenerative
biotechnologies. His hypnotic film composes and decomposes plaster
body parts. The camera’s lens lingers on intimate creases and lines in
the skin before a fountain’s shower slowly dissolves them.

Intensively bred Zebra fish are the protagonists of Kathleen Rogers’s
multi-layered digital installation. Video microscopy of the
artificially mutated fish embryos, spliced between different screens,
reflects upon the evolutionary interconnections that link zebra fish
to humans.

Anne Brodie’s Exploring the Invisible, uses bioluminescence, a
bacteria used for medical research, including the non-invasive
analyses of cancerous cells, to create a series of haunting
photographic portraits. Bacteria is used as the only light source to
light sittlers in a photo booth. The resulting portraits, projected in
the Royal Institutions famous lecture theatre, are enveloped in the
translucent hue emitted by the bacteria suggesting the process of
intercellular communication that is the origin of luminescence.
Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS
2 October - 21 November 2008
Admission free
See www.rigb.org for opening times and further details

Keith Watson
kwatson at romanesque.co.uk
+44 (0) 7802 74 84 84

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