[NetBehaviour] In vivo, The artist on display?

info info at furtherfield.org
Tue Jun 22 13:06:32 CEST 2010

In vivo
The artist on display?

[Plastik Art&Science]

Art that is created out of the living world (bio-art, body-art, 
environmental art...) is today commonly directed by a desire that one 
could define using the prefix: "trans-". One is of course immediately 
reminded of the transgenic, and Eduardo KAC's research, for example, on 
the genetic marker Lucifrase which he transmits to mice, or his 
creation, Edunia, a petunia carrying fragments of his own DNA. One is 
also reminded of transmutation, and the doll's clothes made out of 
animal skin cultures by the SymbioticA group. Or of transgression in 
relation to contemporary ethics, which could apply to the two preceding 
examples, but also to more performatives experiments, such as Blue by 
Yann Marussich, a performance in which, installed in an airtight box, he 
sweats blue methylene from every pore of his skin, when the substance is 
declared dangerous if ingested even by the manufacturer. The 
preoccupation with transmission is also omnipresent in artistic 
practices involving the living, as one can see in works such as The 
cosmopolitan chicken project by Koen Vanmechelen, in which the artist is 
attempting to produce a genetically universal hen by marrying hens of 
different origin each season in order to obtain, within a few decades, 
the absolute mixed race hen. And certainly, such considerations also 
remind us of the question of transversality and transdisciplinarity, 
processes which these artists inevitably touch upon as they work towards 
their goal: a comprehension that differs from the living world in its 
analysis that is jointly artistic and scientific. In fact, we are 
obliged to note that the artists who are interested in the living world 
are increasingly distancing themselves from the notion of the 
reproducibility of reality to experiment with the transformation of this 
world. This type of art seems to seek a way of going beyond the criteria 
of representation, and perhaps even of the design of the living world, 
through an almost necessarily experimental confrontation with reality, 
which is why we have decided to use the prefix "trans" here: "beyond", 
"through". The question almost immediately arises on the definition of 
the artist as auto-experimenter. Up to what point might he or she be 
ready to experiment on the living and on his or herself in particular in 
order to succeed in going beyond a new frontier of artistic 
representation? We would like to present a reflexion on the performative 
dimension of this type of art. In the search for a form of transformer 
art related to the living world, it seems indeed essential that we 
question the creator's position, as he or she is perpetually obliged to 
reconsider his or her experience, in order to allow the spectator to 
apprehend a world living itself in the process of transformation. How 
does the artist therefore plan to address the spectator in an artwork on 
the living that he or she is the first living being to test? Is the 
spectator's comprehension of an artwork increased or decreased by the 
experimentation? Does the spectator feel mobilized by such procedures? 
Many questions aimed at suggesting the state of the analysis of the 
contemporary living world by artists, whose experiments reach sometimes 
improbable dimensions, and can remain at the project stage. This is why 
we want to insist on the prospective dimension, which leaves enough room 
for fiction and research, in this call for projects. Limit for the 
reception of entries:
Please send your entries by email before the 15th of September, 2010.

Rédaction [Plastik]
plastik.art.science at gmail.com
CERAP - Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
47 rue des Bergers 75015 Paris - France

Olga Kisseleva
olga.kisseleva at univ-paris1.fr

Conditions for the reception of entries:
Authors are invited to propose texts of 3000 to 10000 characters. Up to 
10 images can be included, with a resolution of 72 dpi. They should be 
sent separately, with mention of their place, title and source. The same 
goes for pictures and other illustrations in an image format. The first 
page should contain: the title of the article, the name(s) of the 
author(s), their affiliation(s), their email and postal addresses, a 
summary of 10 to 15 lines and a list of key words characterising the 
content of the article. It is important to specify that we are not 
referring here to "live arts", i.e. with the performing arts, but with 
the visual artworks dealing with the questions of the living world, in 
the scientific sense of the term, including biology, ecology and the 
behavioural sciences (ethology).

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list