Killing Flesh? Can the Semi-Living Die?

November 4, 2009 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Killing Flesh? Can the Semi-Living Die?

Oron Catts

Cofounder, SymbioticA, University of Western Australia

Perhaps no one has probed the connections between life and art more dramatically than Oron Catts, bio-artist and co-founder of SymbioticA, an artistic research laboratory housed within the biological science department at the University of Western Australia. Professor Catts discusses the fascinating issues raised by bio-artwork, such as the living coat he created out of mouse stem cells for a recent MoMA design exhibition.

Oron Catts is Co-founder and Artistic Director of SymbioticA, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia. An artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, and critique of life sciences, SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind. Since its founding in 2000, the lab has produced new cultural experiments in the field of neurosciences, molecular biology, anatomy, physics, anthropology, and ethics. It has enabled dozens of artists to create "wet technologies" while complying strictly with scientific requirements within a bioscience department. In 2007 SymbioticA was awarded the inaugural Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Arts.

Artist, researcher, and curator, Oron Catts has pioneered the emerging field of bio-arts, which examines shifting perceptions of life. He was a Research Fellow at the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, and has worked with numerous other biomedical laboratories around the world. In 1996, he founded the Tissue Culture and Art Project to explore the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression.

In April 2009, Icon Magazine (UK) named him one of the top 20 designers “making the future and transforming the way we work.” He has received international awards, including the 2008 Western Australia Premier Award and Second Prize in the Telephonica VIDA10 International Competition on art and artificial life. Catts' work has been shown at MoMA, Ars Electronica, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), among others.