The laboratory is a place devoted to inquiry and the creation of new knowledge. As such, it can be compared to the artist's studio, which also proves to be a research venue as well as a place for the production of original knowledge and forms infused with the complexity of the world around us. This part of the exhibition deals with the work of artists who recapitulate the scientific process by devising various experimental procedures, revealing an often bookish relationship to knowledge, patenting their discoveries or handling living matter that evolves and transforms itself. Their creations involve collaborations with scientists, take advantage of the possibilities offered by instruments from outside the field of art, and evoke a desire for mastery over the unknown.
The laboratory is a place devoted to inquiry and the creation of new knowledge. As such, it can be compared to the artist's studio, which also proves to be a research venue as well as a place for the production of original knowledge and forms infused with the complexity of the world around us. This part of the exhibition deals with the work of artists who recapitulate the scientific process by devising various experimental procedures, revealing an often bookish relationship to knowledge, patenting their discoveries or handling living matter that evolves and transforms itself. Their creations involve collaborations with scientists, take advantage of the possibilities offered by instruments from outside the field of art, and evoke a desire for mastery over the unknown.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

BIOTEKNICA: phase iii Organic Tissue Prototypes

Ongoing series of actions including performance, installations, academic writing, discussions, scientific protocols and archiving.

Photos: Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet
2004 - 2006
© BIOTEKNICA


BIOTEKNICA is a fictional company with an interest in developments and advances in biotechnology. The project assumes the form of a parody, anticipating the role that biotechnology firms will play once genetic manipulation and DNA programming have been perfected. The collective makes scientific investigation its artistic medium and documents its entire research process. The material brought together here represents a study they undertook in 2004 on tissue culture. The research, conducted in conjunction with the SymbioticA laboratory, led the artists to take an interest in teratomas, which are frightening tumours produced by the human body. Considered to be examples of spontaneous cloning, they provide a model for scientists who are attempting to determine whether the knowledge derived from them could be used to clone organs for therapeutic purposes.

Thus the collective reproduces cloned or genetically modified specimens through photographic documentation or fictional 3D prototypes composed of pieces of meat. Various reflections on the fragility of the human body emerge, referring viewers back to a hot topic in today’s society.
BIOTEKNICA is a fictional company with an interest in developments and advances in biotechnology. The project assumes the form of a parody, anticipating the role that biotechnology firms will play once genetic manipulation and DNA programming have been perfected. The collective makes scientific investigation its artistic medium and documents its entire research process. The material brought together here represents a study they undertook in 2004 on tissue culture. The research, conducted in conjunction with the SymbioticA laboratory, led the artists to take an interest in teratomas, which are frightening tumours produced by the human body. Considered to be examples of spontaneous cloning, they provide a model for scientists who are attempting to determine whether the knowledge derived from them could be used to clone organs for therapeutic purposes.

Thus the collective reproduces cloned or genetically modified specimens through photographic documentation or fictional 3D prototypes composed of pieces of meat. Various reflections on the fragility of the human body emerge, referring viewers back to a hot topic in today’s society.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

BIOTEKNICA is an ongoing collaborative art/science project conducted by Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet. Postulating a future/present where biotechnological protocols produce designer organisms based on consumer demand, we have produced a variety of virtual and laboratory based artworks focusing on irrational and grotesque incarnations of the biotechnological body. Our work is modeled on the Teratoma, a cancerous growth containing multiple tissues like hair, skin, and vascular systems. Monstrous as this may seem, scientists today are interested in the Teratoma as an instance of spontaneous cloning, and a source of stem cells. BIOTEKNICA both embraces and critiques evolving biotechnologies, considering the deep contradictions and complexities that these technologies offer.

In 2004 we worked as Research Fellows at the SymbioticA Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratories at The University of Western Australia, where we practiced tissue culture and tissue engineering protocols towards the production of artwork as pioneered by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, of the internationally recognized Tissue Culture & Art Project. In 2006 we returned to SymbioticA to complet Read More
BIOTEKNICA is an ongoing collaborative art/science project conducted by Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet. Postulating a future/present where biotechnological protocols produce designer organisms based on consumer demand, we have produced a variety of virtual and laboratory based artworks focusing on irrational and grotesque incarnations of the biotechnological body. Our work is modeled on the Teratoma, a cancerous growth containing multiple tissues like hair, skin, and vascular systems. Monstrous as this may seem, scientists today are interested in the Teratoma as an instance of spontaneous cloning, and a source of stem cells. BIOTEKNICA both embraces and critiques evolving biotechnologies, considering the deep contradictions and complexities that these technologies offer.

In 2004 we worked as Research Fellows at the SymbioticA Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratories at The University of Western Australia, where we practiced tissue culture and tissue engineering protocols towards the production of artwork as pioneered by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, of the internationally recognized Tissue Culture & Art Project. In 2006 we returned to SymbioticA to complete our Teratological Prototypes in collaboration with TC&A (Catts, Zurr), and exhibited this work ’live’ for the first time at ZeroOne San Jose/ISEA 2006. Since then, we developed a new propositional performance work called BIOTEKNICA: LiveLifeLab, including a complex tissue culture laboratory installation at The FOFA Gallery, Concordia University, Quebec, Canada 2007.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

BIOTEKNICA: phase iii Organic Tissue Prototypes

Photo: Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet
2004 - 2006
© BIOTEKNICA


BIOTEKNICA: phase iii Organic Tissue Prototypes

Photo: Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet
2004 - 2006
© BIOTEKNICA


BIOTEKNICA: phase iii Organic Tissue Prototypes

Photo: Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet

© BIOTEKNICA


BIOTEKNICA is a fictional bioengineering firm that was created in 2000 by artists Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet. It is a virtual laboratory in which recent developments in biotechnology are studied and subjected to experimentation.

Shawn Bailey lives and works in Montréal. He completed a BFA at the University of Calgary in 1997 and an MFA at York University (Toronto). He has lectured and exhibited throughout Canada and internationally. He is currently a Professor at Concordia University in the Print Media program in Studio Arts.

Jennifer Willet lives and works in Montréal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Calgary and an MFA from Guelph University. She is a part-time faculty member in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University, and a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program at the same institution.

www.bioteknica.org

selected exhibitions
2008 Corpus Extremus, Exit Art, New York (United States) 2006 Transvergence, ISEA 2006 Symposium and ZeroOne: A Read More
BIOTEKNICA is a fictional bioengineering firm that was created in 2000 by artists Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet. It is a virtual laboratory in which recent developments in biotechnology are studied and subjected to experimentation.

Shawn Bailey lives and works in Montréal. He completed a BFA at the University of Calgary in 1997 and an MFA at York University (Toronto). He has lectured and exhibited throughout Canada and internationally. He is currently a Professor at Concordia University in the Print Media program in Studio Arts.

Jennifer Willet lives and works in Montréal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Calgary and an MFA from Guelph University. She is a part-time faculty member in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University, and a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program at the same institution.

www.bioteknica.org

selected exhibitions
  • 2008 Corpus Extremus, Exit Art, New York (United States)
  • 2006 Transvergence, ISEA 2006 Symposium and ZeroOne: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge, San Jose (United States)
  • 2005 New Species, Break 2.3 Festival, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Bioteknica: Corporate Presence, Forest City Gallery, London (Ontario)
  • 2004 Bio Difference: The Political Ecology, Biennial Electronic Arts Perth, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth (Australia)

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

biotechnology

The entire set of methods and techniques that use microorganisms, i.e. plant cells and their constituents, to modify or transform products. The pharmaceutical and agri-food industries make use of advances in this field, particularly in the production of medicine and foods.

Genetic (cell) manipulation

An operation that consists of transporting a strand of DNA, along with its genes, from a cell nucleus of one individual to that of another. This intervention makes it possible to transfer to the receiver characteristics it did not previously have but that were possessed by the donor.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the bearer of genetic information and is entrusted with transmitting from generation to generation a whole series of characteristics that determine the internal or external structure of living organisms. DNA is found in the nuclei of all living cells.

teratoma

A type of tumour that generally forms in the testicles or ovaries. The name (from the Greek teratos, or "monster") alludes to the tumour's monstrous appearance, for it can contain teeth, hair, skin and veins, i Read More
biotechnology

The entire set of methods and techniques that use microorganisms, i.e. plant cells and their constituents, to modify or transform products. The pharmaceutical and agri-food industries make use of advances in this field, particularly in the production of medicine and foods.

Genetic (cell) manipulation

An operation that consists of transporting a strand of DNA, along with its genes, from a cell nucleus of one individual to that of another. This intervention makes it possible to transfer to the receiver characteristics it did not previously have but that were possessed by the donor.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the bearer of genetic information and is entrusted with transmitting from generation to generation a whole series of characteristics that determine the internal or external structure of living organisms. DNA is found in the nuclei of all living cells.

teratoma

A type of tumour that generally forms in the testicles or ovaries. The name (from the Greek teratos, or "monster") alludes to the tumour's monstrous appearance, for it can contain teeth, hair, skin and veins, in addition to having its own vascular or nervous system.

tissue

A group of identical cells arranged in such a way as to perform the same function. There are four types: epithelial (forming a protective coating on the surface of mucous membranes), connective (including the blood, bones and cartilage), muscle and nerve.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • demonstrate an understanding of how science and art can be linked;
  • try to explain the state of mind of the artists when they made this art piece.

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