Body Art Bioethics (2010, Aug 6)


Looks like a great event if you can make it there... A symposium exploring the culture and ethics of the use and ownership of living material, from the cell to the whole body, in art, science, law and philosophy.

The body is increasingly being transformed into commodity and media, put on display, fragmented, manipulated, preserved and rearranged. Scientists, artists, lawyers, historians and social scientists will come together to trace the radical shifts in our understanding of the body - and life itself - and investigate how these emergent realities influence our notion of being human while simultaneously challenging the relationship to the ‘Other’ that is living or semi-living. READ MORE

Symposium Details Date: 6 August 2010 Location: William Lambden Owen Room, Moot Court, Law Building The University of Western Australia (View Map) Registration: $110 (including GST) registration. Students and unwaged free Refreshments included. Download Registration Form More Information: e-mail: sym@symbiotica.uwa.edu.au | telephone: + 61 8 6488 7116

List of Speakers Lyn Beazley | Chief Scientist of Western Australia Ethan Blue | Historian Oron Catts | SymbioticA Director Elizabeth Costello | Writer Kathy High | Artist Stuart Hodgetts | Scientist Darren Jorgensen | Art Theorist Luigi Palombi | Lawyer Catherine Waldby | Social Scientist Ionat Zurr | Tissue Culture and Art Project

Verena Kaminiarz may the mice bite me if it is not true

The notion as well as the practical use of the “body” is increasingly changing and transforming in the light of new knowledge and new technological capabilities. The body is no longer perceived strictly as a unified whole let alone as solely human and bodies and parts of bodies are being traded and manipulated as part of the global economy. “New” bodies are being formed and assembled; from the cellular body; the chimeric body; the transgenic body – to the extent of creating “new kinds of bodies”, technological and synthetic - as hinted at by the case of Synthia – the first cell with a so called artificial genome.

Discussions will include • Patenting and copy right laws of biological materials and processes and the effects on global distribution and biodiversity, presented by Luigi Palombi

• A feminist-Marxist critique of the distribution and use of parts of bodies, classified as “gift” or “waste,” offered by Catherine Waldby as one of her areas of research

• Renown writer Elizabeth Costello speaks about poetry, philosophy, cruelty and animal welfare;

• The notion of the Other – in its broadest sense – investigated from multifaceted perspectives: • Ethan Blue investigates power and race relations within the American prison system. • Kathy High explores the Other animal and interspecies intimate relations in her art • Ionat Zurr presents the Semi-Living point of view.

• Research scientist Stuart Hodgetts discusses his experience working with animals and artists in the labs

• The use of the body in artistic expression is explored by Darren Jorgensen

• And some of the interdisciplinary hands-on research of SymbioticA residents who address ethics and biology will be dissected by Oron Catts.

These perspectives explore the current phenomenon in which life (consisting of varied, diverse and contested bodies) is increasingly treated as malleable raw material to be engineered. At the same time, new and recurring mindsets regarding what a body is and in what ways and by whom it can be put into use, compete for consensus. This transformation should be observed and debated critically; especially in relation to the objectification and instrumentalism of life and the transformation of its different gradients into currency. However this same transformation can create a niche for fresh perceptions of life in which a more post-anthropocentric view of life can flourish.

The Body/Art/Bioethics symposium aspires to explore, from multidisciplinary perspectives, the emerging ethical perplexes and understandings of scientific and artistic uses of bodies as media. Discussions will investigate and problematise the social, legal, philosophical, and aesthetic issues that arise from the concept of a “Body”. Speaker Bio

Welcome Address - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Lyn Beazley Chief Scientist of Western Australia A professor in Zoology at the University of Western Australia, Professor Beazley’s research career spans 30 years of studies into regeneration after neurotrauma and colour vision in Australian native animals, including lizards and marsupials. Her past research has also changed clinical practice in the treatment of infants at risk of pre-term delivery. Having graduated from Oxford University, she undertook her doctorate at Edinburgh University. Professor Beazley transferred to Perth in 1976 and built up an internationally renowned research team that focused on recovery from brain damage. A Fellow of the Institute of Biologists, Professor Beazley has served on numerous peak bodies advising State and Federal Governments. Internationally she recently served on a panel assessing research performance for the Swedish Research Council and is a member of the Education Committee of the International Brain Research Organisation. Lyn was a Trustee of the Western Australian Museum from 1999 until 2007 and appointed Chief Scientist of WA in December 2006. BACK TO TOP

Keynotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Catherine Waldby University of Sydney & King’s College London Catherine is Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Biomedicine and Society, King’s College London. She researches and publishes in social studies of biomedicine and the life sciences. Her books include AIDS and the Body Politic: Biomedicine and Sexual Difference (1996 Routledge), The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine (2000 Routledge), Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (with Robert Mitchell, Duke University Press 2006) and The Global Politics of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Science: Regenerative Medicine in Transition, (with Herbert Gottweis and Brian Salter, Palgrave 2009). She is a foundation member of the global biopolitics research group, an international consortium of scholars who investigate the effects of cultural, political and economic globalization on the social relations of biomedicine. She has received national and international research grants for her work on embryonic stem cells, blood donation and biobanking. http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/sociology_social_policy/staff/profiles/catherine_waldby.shtml BACK TO TOP

Dr Luigi Palombi Australian National University Luigi read law between 1977 and 1981 and economics between 1982 and 1985 at the University of Adelaide. He practiced law in Australia between 1982 and 1997, specialising in patent law and biotechnology. He led the Australian litigation team that challenged the validity of a patent which claimed isolated hepatitis C virus nucleotides and polypeptides as inventions. Having led several international patent litigation teams involving litigation in the United States as well as in the UK and Europe (including the European Patent Office), between 1997 and 2001 he advised various organisations around the world with regard to human health, biotechnology and gene related patents. Between 2001 and 2004 he undertook his PhD candidature (The Patenting of Biological Materials in the Context of TRIPS) at the University of New South Wales. After he was awarded his doctorate in 2005, he consulted to Minter Ellison, Australia’s largest law firm, in biotechnology patents. Since 2006 he has headed the Genetic Sequence Right Project at the Australian National University and in 2007 he and Prof Peter Drahos, his colleague at the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU, were awarded a three year Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant entitled The Sustainable Use of Australia’s Biodiversity: Transfer of Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property. He has delivered invited papers and lectures in patent law at international legal conferences and meetings. He has written on various aspects of patent law and gene patents and Edward Elgar (London, New York) and Scribe (Melbourne) have recently published his first book, Gene Cartels: Biotech Patents in the Age of Free Trade, simultaneously in hardback and paperback. http://cgkd.anu.edu.au/menus/people_staff&students.php#palombi BACK TO TOP

Elizabeth Costello Writer Elizabeth is an Australian writer of international renown. She is the author of The House on Eccles Street (1969) and other novels and regularly presents on the lives of animals. BACK TO TOP

Presenters - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Ethan Blue The University of Western Australia Ethan is an Assistant Professor of History and received a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. His research focuses on the creation and contest of social inequality across political economic formations, with particular interests in the histories of racism, state violence, and punishment. He is also an award-winning teacher. http://www.history.uwa.edu.au/about/staff/ethan_blue BACK TO TOP

Oron Catts The University of Western Australia Oron is an artist, researcher and curator whose work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project has won numerous international awards. In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA, an artistic research laboratory housed within the Anatomy and Human Biology department at The University of Western Australia. Under Oron’s leadership SymbioticA has gone on to win the 2007 Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art and became a Centre for Excellence in Biological Art in 2008. In April 2009 Oron (together with Ionat Zurr) was recognised by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of its top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work.” His work is included in the New York MoMA design collection and has been exhibited and presented locally and internationally. He has published 13 book chapters and numerous articles. http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/welcome BACK TO TOP

Kathy High Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York Kathy is Head and Associate Professor of Video and New Media at the Department of the Arts. She teaches digital video production, history and theory and has been working in the area of documentary and experimental film, video and photography for over twenty years. She produces videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine/bio-science, science fiction, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She has also recently started the BioArts Initiative at Rensselaer, a collaboration between the Arts Department and the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. http://kathyhigh.com/about/ BACK TO TOP

Stuart Hodgetts The University of Western Australia Stuart is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Eileen Bond Spinal Research Centre in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in cell based transplantation therapies and has been devoted to this area of research for over 10 years. He has considerable expertise in spinal cord injury and a strong interest in the application of stem cell based transplantation therapies as well as immune modulation of the host response to improve donor cell survival in treatments for spinal cord repair. Previously, he worked at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, USA (93-96). In 1998 he began transplantation research as a potential treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy until 2004 when he changed fields to apply his expertise in the repair of spinal cord following injury. He has published 18 peer reviewed papers in high ranking journals and 2 book chapters. He began a long-standing collaboration with SymbioticA around 1998 and has been involved in projects such as “Lifeboat” with Riksutstillinger, SymbioticA, & Sonic Objects, Oslo, Norway (2004), as well as being Scientific Consultant & Adviser to SymbioticA (1998-present). He also lectures in undergraduate courses and supervises many students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and his service to the UWA community includes Chair of the Animal Users Committee, Director of Tissue Culture Facilities at ANHB, Treasurer of the UWA Research Staff Association, Executive Committee Member (ANHB), as well as other committees. https://www.socrates.uwa.edu.au/Staff/StaffProfile.aspx?Person=StuartHodgetts BACK TO TOP

Darren Jorgensen The University of Western Australia Darren lectures in art history in the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts. He largely publishes on science fiction, Aboriginal art and critical theory. https://www.socrates.uwa.edu.au/Staff/StaffProfile.aspx?Person=DarrenJorgensen BACK TO TOP

Ionat Zurr The University of Western Australia Award winning artist and researcher, Ionat Zurr formed, with Oron Catts, the internationally renowned Tissue Culture and Art Project. She has been an artist in residence in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology since 1996 and was central to the establishment of SymbioticA in 2000. Ionat, who received her PhD, titled "Growing Semi-Living Art" in 2009, is a core researcher and academic co-ordinator at SymbioticA. She is considered a pioneer in the field of biological arts and her work has been exhibited locally and internationally. http://www.tca.uwa.edu.au/ BACK TO TOP

Symposium Image Details

Verena Kaminiarz may the mice bite me if it is not true Verena Kaminiarz may the mice bite me if it is not true 2008-2010 Original Photograph: Bo Wang Kaminiarz graduated from a Master of Biological Arts at SymbioticA in 2008. Her project focused on mice used in science to model human diseases. The work consists of four mice positioned as living portraits of people who have died from conditions that these mice were developed to model. The resulting mouse portraits were of: Franz Kafka (tuberculosis), Joseph Beuys (natural causes), Felix Gonzalez-Torres (compromised immune system) and Gilles Deleuze (lung cancer). The work re-contextualized laboratory animals, relocating them into a field of cultural and philosophical study. http://www.aedc.ca/verena/may_the_mice_bite/images_may_the_mice_bite.htm

body/art/bioethics Kira O’Reilly inthewrongplaceness Kira O’Reilly inthewrongplaceness 2005-2009 Photographer: Axel Heise O’Reilly was a SymbioticA resident in 2003/2004. A part of her research involved culturing skin tissue taken from a pig being used for bioscientific research. O’Reilly has since performed a number of performance works for one person at a time, inwhich her body is juxtaposed and interacts with the corpse of a female pig; exploring the complicitness, responsibility and connection with the other animal. http://www.kiraoreilly.com/blog/

Symposium Postcards and Poster Graphic Design by Paul Rayment.