Viewing entries tagged

Design for Evolution

film from my lecture at Aalto University Helsinki in January.

Wasted Debates

Wasted Debates


Wednesday 8 February, 6pm -7.30pm, at the Bluecoat.

Watch live streaming video from wasteddebates at

Chaired by Roger Phillips of BBC Radio Merseyside

Next week, I'll be part of a panel on this debate related to artist Gina Czarnecki's exhibition at the Bluecoat Liverpool.

Should people be allowed to donate parts of their body to an artist?

Is it right for galleries to exhibit artwork made of real human bones, teeth or fat? Who owns our body parts when they are removed from us?

Does the use of human tissue in art serve any purpose, or is this just sensationalism? Should this type of art require formal approval?

The Bluecoat is inviting people to discuss these fascinating questions at a ‘Question Time’ style event with a panel including:

  •       Dominic Hughes, BBC Health Correspondent
  •       Canon Jules Gomes, Artistic Director of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
  •      Andy Miah, academic and specialist in cultural ethics, and
  •      Rt Hon Jane Kennedy, former MP for Liverpool Wavertree and Minister of State for Health.

At present, there are strict ethical rules relating to the use of human tissue from living people. Doctors and medical researchers must follow codes of conduct and get ethics approval (from the Human Tissue Authority) and consent from individuals to obtain tissue from living donors, for example to use tumour biopsy samples for scientific research. However, there is no ethical committee that has the authority to decide whether anyone else, an artist or museum curator for example, can obtain tissue from living consenting donors, for the purpose of making art and displaying it.

The Wasted debate seeks to open up a discussion about the ethics of ‘bio-art’ with a wider audience.


Gina Czarnecki has sought to make sculptures using human fat from liposuction operations, and bones from hip replacements. Even though legally, all she needs is the consent of an informed patient, doctors are reluctant to release the ‘waste products’ from operations because there is no way of getting formal approval.

Gina’s exhibition at the Bluecoat documents this process. Significantly the exhibition introduces her latest works. Wasted is a series of sculptures that explore the use of human tissue in art, the life-giving potential of ‘discarded’ body parts and their relationship to myths and history. The works draw attention to timely concerns such as stem cell research and issues surrounding the process of informed consent. Co-commissioned by the Bluecoat and Imperial College London, Palaces is a resin sculpture and participatory artwork made from thousands of milk teeth donated by children around the UK.  Palaces will tour to the Science Museum, Imperial College and the Centre of the Cell, London in 2012, and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry in 2013.

Free tickets are available from the Bluecoat information desk. Call 0151 702 5324 for details.

Anyone can join in the debate by visiting or tweet us @wasteddebates.

For further information or interview requests, please contact the event organizer

Kate Rodenhurst

07956 352 779

Design for Evolution

On 23rd, I give a talk in Helsinki for a lecture series at Aalto University, thematically associated with the World Design Capital in 2012.

Here's more info about the series, titled 'Human Design or Evolution', which includes Natasha Vita-More, Stelarc, Laura Beloff, Fiona Raby, James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau, Ritta Hari and Sissel Tomas (sadly not all at the same time).

Here's my talk, titled 'Design for Evolution':

How should we imagine the future of humanity in order to permit the utilization of human enhancement technologies, while remaining mindful of the risks that could arise from tampering with evolutionary processes. How can humanity design for its evolution, taking into account the range of capacities that humans may require in the future and considering the kinds of lives people wish to lead in the present? This talk will address the interface of design and evolution, so as to approach a responsible approach to human enhancement.

Bioart is changing the world

latest article for the Huffington Post focuses on the politics, philosophy and potential of bioart.

IN RECENT YEARS, a new breed of artists named bioartists have begun to infiltrate gallery spaces and scientific laboratories in pursuit of creative expression and new knowledge. Their number includes some of the world's most adventurous avant-garde artists, whose core currency is the playful and sometimes political exploration of new media through which to create art that will change our way of seeing the world. One such artist in this field, Gina Czarnecki, is having her first UK retrospective opening on December 8th at The Bluecoat in Liverpool. Yet, there is a great deal more at stake with this new form of creative practice.

In the past, the medium of such artists might have been oil paint, water colours, or in more recent years, film, video, or digital technology. Today, their medium is biology – our biology to be more precise, and that of other species. However, their work does not simply derive from our present, post-genomic era; it also foregrounds what comes next. They conduct sociologies of the future, shaping the ideas of science fiction writers, film makers, and the work of scientists. By envisioning new forms of biological transformation and utilization, their ideas become constitutive of our era, in the way that artists before them did.

To this end, bioartists also scrutinize contemporary bioethical issues and scientific practice, such as the utilization of embryonic stem cells, or the development of transgenic species. However, it is far from clear that the intention of such artists is to resist such processes. Indeed, some are seeking their development in order to make their art possible, such as Stelarc, the long-standing performance artist who regularly alters his body for his art.

Beginning with live body hook suspensions in the 1970s, Stelarc’s most recent enterprise involves creating an ear on his forearm, grown from a cell culture and sculptured over a period of six years. The next stage for this work is the utilization of stem cells to create the precise ridges of the ear that only nature has been capable of perfecting, so far.

If this were not evidence enough of how artists celebrate the transformative aesthetic potential of biotechnology, then consider the subsequent stage of Stelarc’s Extra Ear. The end goal of the project is to implant an auditory device within the ear and for it to be remotely connected to the Internet, so web browsers can hear what the ear hears creating a distributed auditory system.

Other artists, such as Ionat Zurr & Oron Catts from Australia are scrutinizing the need for us to farm animals, at a time when environmental activists point out the amount of energy needed to sustain one animal life – and indeed, the harmful gases generated by such life forms! As an alternative, they have developed something called victimless meat, grown from cell cultures, which has the neat consequence of also attending to animal rights concerns, since there is no sentient life to speak of that is harmed by the consumption of such products.

Biology has been a medium for artists for some time. Everything from saliva to human excrement has entered the play space of artists over the years. The difference in these new works is their experimentation with cutting edge scientific applications, such as stem cells, cosmetic surgery and biotechnology generally – technologies that are at the margins of human experience and about which there is considerable controversy.

The resulting works vary considerably and they range from the weird and wonderful, such as Eduardo Kac’s fluorescent, transgenic bunny, to the sublimely curious such as Julia Reodica’s designer hymens, a collection of synthetic hymens, which invite questions into the role of virginity and its loss in the 21st century. Alternatively, Yann Marussich’s whole-body secretion of a blue dye in a piece of live art called ‘blue remix’ heralds a new era of performance..

These artists have varied intentions and, like all good work, their art invites numerous and sometimes contradictory responses. It would be a mistake to suggest that they are pursuing anti-scientific ideologies, since this would radically limit the willingness of scientists to open their doors to such practice. Instead, the emphasis is on collaboration and shared vision, about nurturing new ways of interrogating the end goals of science as the utopian visions of humanity.

However, one can read a deeper politics into such desires. Their gentle tip toeing into labs raises important questions about how we organize society and understand our own humanity. For instance, why do we privilege scientific knowledge over, say, aesthetic, as evidenced by the way in which funding is skewed in favour of the former? In short, the efforts of bioartists is doing nothing less than attempting to disrupt the global knowledge economy by reinstating art as the primary medium of developing insights on the, as yet, unstudied future.

In so doing, the work of bioartists also raises difficult ethical questions. For instance, it requires us to consider by what codes of ethics such work should be governed? This is often the initial response of critics who find such work disturbing, offensive or potentially illegal: how could one play with transgenic science simply to create a new aesthetic artifact? However, there are good reasons for refraining from such judgements and this is because the aesthetic content of such works is only one way of evaluating their worth.

The more relevant ethical view to take reveals itself when inquiring into some of the challenges that such artists have faced in the pursuit of their work. For instance, in 2004, US bioartist Steve Kurtz was pursued by the FBI under suspicion of bioterrorism, after petri dishes with biological matter inside them were found in his home.

Such artists would want us to see them as acting on our behalf to make science more accountable to a broader public and for their work to engage us more fully on its long term goals and aspirations.

So, the transgenic art of Eduardo Kac invites us to consider the limits of ‘Playing God’ and he is quick to point out that scientists have already undertaken such experiments, we just don’t hear very much about it, or it is cloaked in some remote chance that the experiment will lead to knowledge that will assist humanity in some specific way. In any case, if one wanted to read Kac's fluorescent bunny as the next era of personalised pets, what should be our objection? Doesn’t our desire for pets necessarily commit us to their objectification and servitude, even though we might claim they are our companions?

In the end, if we are to experiment with creating new forms of life with synthetic biology, cloning and genetic modification, shouldn’t we just admit that it is for little more than our own amusement, whether that is the amusement of our own existence, or that which we find in witnessing great art?

Pigs Bladder Football

Artist John O'Shea is a dear friend and a great young artist whose latest work is titled 'Pigs Bladder Football'. I Chaired a debate during the #ANDfest about 'Fanaticism' inspired by his work. I also took part in making a pigs bladder football, while also doing reasonably well in keepy uppies, captured in this stunning action shot ;)

Find below a few shots from the weekend:

The game of Pigs Bladder Football


The shop on boldstreet

Pigs Bladder Football

John getting things ready

Pigs Bladder Football

Inflating the bladder

Pigs Bladder Football

John working on a podcast

John O'Shea 'Pigs Bladder Football'

Future : Content

Future : Content


I've just published an essay introducing 'bioart' in this nice new book on creativity, design and the future  


Wired magazine recently published one of my pictures of Stelarc in a feature on BioArt. Here's the image: Stelarc, Ear on Arm, #virtualfutures


The photograph was taken at the Virtual Futures conference at Warwick University. For more photography, click here


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: | 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

Symposium Postcards and Poster Graphic Design by Paul Rayment.

Interspecies – artists collaborating with animals

Interspecies – artists collaborating with animals An exhibition, live event, symposia and family day at A Foundation London, Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London, E2 7ES 2-4 October 2009, open 11am-7pm admission and all events free <> for details and booking How do humans and animals relate to each other? In The Arts Catalysts’ Interspecies exhibition and event, seven international artists have created a range of work that explores this complex relationship. From live experiments that allow visitors to communicate with fish to a video work that explores the age-old affiliation between falconer and falcon, Interspecies brings together a number of artists working with animals and explores the boundaries of our interaction. Curious about the animal’s point of view, the artists challenge the dominant human viewpoint and aim to work in collaboration with other species. The family day on Sunday 4 October will give families a chance to see artists in contact with real animals - like performance artist Kira O'Reilly who will be Falling asleep with a pig, called Deliah, and Antony Hall whose Enki Experiment 4 invites visitors to communicate with an electric fish.  During the afternoon, parents and children can take part in a series of free events. Interspecies is organised by The Arts Catalyst in partnership with A Foundation. The Arts Catalyst commissions artists and curates exhibitions which explore contested issues in science and society <> Events Friday 2 October 6pm, Exhibition tour with curator Rob La Frenais 7–9pm, Symposium: Non-Human Primates with Patrick Munck, collaborator with Nicolas Primat, Rachel Mayeri and Sarah Jane Vick, primatologist. Limited spaces, please book online. Saturday 3 October 1-3pm and 3.30-5.30pm, Primate Cinema: How To Act Like An Animal. Two workshops with Rachel Mayeri for over 16s exploring the social dynamics of non-human primates through performance. Limited spaces, please book online. 2pm, Tour of ENKI experiment 4 with Antony Hall 3–6pm, Symposium: Animals, Humans and Power (BSL interpreted) with Antennae editor Giovanni Aloi, Photographer Karen Knorr, Helen Macdonald, writer of Falcon, Ruth Maclennan and Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson. Limited spaces, please book online. 6pm, How to Act Like An Animal performance Family Day – Sunday 4 October 2–4pm Becoming Bowerbirds. These intriguing birds show unusual creativity - they construct bowers which they decorate with found objects to attract females. Children and parents are invited to be a Bowerbird for the afternoon with artist Sally Hampson.  Advanced booking advisable at <> (Children 5yrs or under need to be accompanied) 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, Interspecies Tales by poet and storyteller Shamim Azad.  Shamim's work uses aspects of the Asian folk and oral traditions, enlivening traditional stories with chant and body movement, poems, percussion instruments, tabla and songs. 4.30pm, Animal Handler’s Tales, broadcaster and trainer of the owls used in the first Harry Potter movie, James Mackay talks about his work as 'The Animal Man' with exhibition curator Rob La Frenais. Admission free to all events. Accompanied children and families welcome. Unfortunately, dogs cannot be permitted. Physical access to some parts of the exhibition and events is limited; please contact for further information

Jo Fells <> Sign up here <> for our e-bulletin round-up of international news, exhibitions and opportunities The Arts Catalyst Toynbee Studios 28 Commercial Street London  E1 6LS T: +44 (0)20 7375 3690

Kira OReilly

Kira is performing as part of Marina Abramovic Presents, already a sell out for the MIF.

4th UK Postgraduate Bioethics Conference (2009, June 23, Belfast)

I gave one of the keynotes here titled Bioart as Bioethics. Here are some shots and notes from the event.

Can we owe ourselves a duty to die? Sinead O’Brien, Manchester University whether right to life do we have a right to die as and when we see fit?

Deal with adult human beings Capable of valuing own life Intrinsic value

Owing duty to ourselves

Kant – duties – in every moral duty, no matter to whom it is owed, individual chooses being bound – so, free to relinquish oneself

We can only owe this duty to ourselves

Only individual can decide whether life is so burdensome as to constitute a harm

Only we can know if our lives have sunk below an acceptable level

Beyond Mill’s Harm Principle: the Case of Abortion Gareth Williams University of Leicester

Mill’s harm principle Ambiguity of term ‘harm’

The Profession of Medicine in a Target Driven Culture Michael Trimble

What are the implications of a target driven healthcare syst for prof of medicine and ethical basis of medical practice?

What makes a good doctor? Mark Campbell

Bioethics has narrow focus on action guidance Need something broader to take into account moral agency Only then can moral philosophy answer q of what makes a good doctor

Embodying Bioethics Maragret Shildrick

10-11 September, anomalous bodies: visibility and ageing

‘Naked on the Inside’:  (discussion about the film)

phd in poststructuralist bodies

concerns about bodies of limits- conjoined twins – disability

concern to make sure bioethics does what it says on the tin -    ethics of the body

rather than set of rules or principles

look at bioethics through theory, but want to embody theory

bioethics is out of touch, metaphorically and literally

how bring to bear postmodernism on bioethics

in west, we see body as container, self lives in we are also obsessed with our bodies: shape, weight, age,

Descartes – mind and body split

Ross Diprowe (?) -    absence of body in bioethics

turn back to body in lots of feminist theory

insistence that can’t see self and body as separate – I am my body

currently looking at heart transplantation – how do recipient’s feel about themselves

people who recover best are those who do not make the split

people who see themselves as separate do not progress well after 3yrs

Naked on the Inside’ -    6 extraordinary people from around the world

I think that the people in this film have never given up the idea of the split

Story of Rick -  Has breast cancer – she opts out of conventional medical treatment – would be seen as a conscious moral agent

Breakdown of binaries forces us to re-think all that rely on them

Convention acts as though is distinction between health and disease is questionable

Dave Toole, Leeds – disability dancer

Private Practice and Bioethics – television as a medium for public bioethical education Audrey Dillon

Medical Drama -    52% Americans received health info they believed to be accurate from TV shows -    TV can change atts and behaves -    Soap operas often used in developing countries a a public health intervention to promote certain behaviours -    Measurable impact of behv change -    ER study – shows increase in awareness of issues -    People who regularly watch ER have

Kaiser Foundation -    Grey’s Anatomy -    Transmission of HIV -    Doctor emphasizes 98% chance of healthy baby – couple don't have abortion -    Surveyed around 4000 people -    Episode watched by 17.5million people -    46% absorbed the HIV-related info

George Annas -    he prepared bioethical content for ER and Chicago Hope -    tv series good way to tell issues

“Reel Medicine vs Real Medicine’ -    selective entertainment, not comprehensive education o    Annas 1995 Sex, Money and Bioethics, HCR

Private Practice -    Medical drama, produced by ABC -    Spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy -    Reasonable TV ranking in USA -    Aim of show: to deal with ethics (according to ABC)

Research on PP -    watched 30 episodes -    identify stories with ethical issues and see processes of ethical decision making -    total of 68 stories

ref: Volandes , medical ethics on film

Using Literature to Teach Bioethics Melissa Stobie

70% of personal morals stay the same after ethics courses also evidence that ability to act on declined

JM Coetzee – the lives of animals


McGee v Attorney General (1974) Recognized a constitutional right to privacy

Article 40.3.3 -    right to life of unborn

MR v TR and Others (2006) -    3 frozen embryos

Human Futures Symposium (2008, Oct, FACT, Liverpool)

Human Futures symposium An Ethics of the Unknown Russell Blackford,

History of the concept of the future Current anxieties – corporations, environment

Emerging notions of the future – relationship to technology

Technology changing us – our capacities

Technology that mediates evolution -    does it? Can it?

The uncertainty part is about this mediation

What is ethics? -    politics and ethics of uncertainty

ethics: something about questions related to how live lives

t good life

politics is ethics writ large?

Ethics and politics of idea that technology can go inward and transform us

Should we respond with repugnance?

Leon Kass – cloning is repugnant

Bill McKibben –

Organization of society should not proscribe the good life

When laws are passed to ban technologies, enforces conception of t good that is at odds with liberal minded people – even if you agree with the rules

Social and public policy – going in the wrong directio

Reproductive cloning – currently not safe, so reasons to discourage

Is agreement with policy enough to justify the legal implementation of the good

There will be more issues of this kind

1997 Dolly

Justina Robson

Introduction to sci fi through Assimov, etc

Sci-fi was not for me as absorbed in ethics and morality – should and ought

Fiction of the future is – looking back in my life – are horror fictions – -    eg. credit crunch,

characters – how affected by these horrors

most of my heroines are  people who are booted into transgressions and must live with them -  they learn to accept and use

first book – Silver Screen – AI and self-evolution – technological singularity

I felt compelled to answer these questions about machinic intell

What is life?

Dawkins level still – biological machines

Replicators struggling to survive

Meme replicators

Skating over the difficult scientific issues – which nobody knows how to resolve

Hard sci-fi fans like it to be realistic

Silver Screen -    is  psychologist to an AI

as ug ,developed a Turing Test

machine replicant of a human seemed most convincing

in the story the AI is a property of a large corporate body

becomes subject of HR case and is granted those rights

inherited ideas from the past – silver screen – cyberpunk tradition – William Gibson – action driven, often depressing –

Arthur C. Clarke – children enhanced b alien race – to join  a hive mind being – whole of human race joins this hive mind – eastern philosophy pull in by western thinkers – we are one, unity, etc – moving to glowing  - this repeats in my stories too

Technological transformation of individual and society

Octavia Butler – US sci fi writer – deeply rooted in personal experience  - often involve alien encounter – could be  shape-shifter, or – and quite uniquely – start cloning processes with humans, etc  - not quite dystopian – but gruesome and disturbing

Healthy body integral to identity – when sick we feel v different – when I was v fit, world felt profoundly different – so imagine v signif changes – memory download – replication – complexity of decision making processes

ME: kasparove vs machine

Eternal Sunshine – rare story that ends up with absence of meaning

Ursula Leguin (sp?) -    speculating on how could change if views of gender were changed -    imagines gender neutrality of characters – human tries to relate to these people as one gender or not -    aliens are some aspect of ourself we don’t know how to deal with

ME: Kass can’t deal with his inner alien

Whether sci-fi becomes part of emerging

Norman M. Klein

When I was here last I predicted a great crash Forgetting –

History of the present – from Foucault Use HF book to re-encounter the present The present began Sept/Oct 1973 Vatican to vegas – ended when iraq war started

The future of forgetting – I incorrectly predicted where we’re supposed to be going.

Liverpool is being erased – working class

It appears that 1990s  - being put into place – trendy new Liverpool – erasing one thing tht would make Liverpool exicitnig now at a time where that era died yesterday

Where globalization is leading – term  / Much will change / Master planning harder to do / Changes in cities / Inversion of public and private / will post-Obama world reverse it? / neo-liberal model erased master plan – transformed by George With Bush / imaginary 20th Century – how was it seen before it happened and what phantoms continue – woman in 1901 selects 4 men to seduce her and what happens to them and her – what versions of t future didn’t come into existence / how we are mis-preparing for this / urban planning  - downtown LA – what are they meant to be in this new ecomony – in US prior down town no longer functions as downtown – not in downtown LA – gothic revival obsession – surburban fantasy of itself – good coffee, no tea –

ME: didn’t talk much about Asia

Scripted spaces – staged environments –

Incredible comedy on tragic scale

Something has reinvented identity –

Instead of becoming a machine, we become machinic

We lose consciousness of difference between machine and human.

Fantasize about the unreal – but when it happens we are surprised

Impact of media is slowing us down

Dominated by medication

Will need to: Design a public culture Be less cybernetic

Questions & Answers

Linda Candy: prediction – if not, then prescribe – I used to be a teacher – used to teach books like Brave New World, 1984, etc. looking back on the dystopan vision, we went into that somewhat mindless of what we were selling to these children. Looking forward – what would you prescribe for children to read –

Russell: Brave New World v immoral as it plays on people’ prejudices, because they are seen as bizarre – this should never be advised – I had an article in Quadrant – ‘who’s afraid of the Brave New World?’ – Bill Gibson’s ‘neuromancer’ – it’s not simply dystopian – it’s also alluring –

Norman: my students are rejecting utopian and dystopian

Justina: I was part of that generation – the presentation of the text is the crucial issue – but the bleak literature must have an opposition – today’s sci-fi are terrifying, etc, but also wonderful – the wonder is almost a religious experience

Norman: when world in shift, search for future and past.  My students interested in parallel worlds. New Nietzsche. New freud – freud the novelist.  Canon must be to invent point of origin.

Q: in future, will there be a canon – or centralized syllabus

Justina: canon’s always serve status quo.

Norman: postmodernism ended day before my birthday 1989. Canon is archive. Death of canon interesting. As long as it keeps dying, will remain interesting.

Encourage you to violate it.

Q Andy Sawyer, Sci fi foundation, Uni of Liverpool: alternatives could be those Justina mentioned. Interested in 3 comments: 1) Russell – future recent concept in history 2) sci-fi should and ought centrality 3) Norman – versions of future that never happened.    As I look at it, 100yrs ago, vision of future, but now more anxious, ambiguous. No such thing as prediction of future –

Norman: don’t own the future. In western Europe – Americans thought they owned the future. Accidentally bought the future in atlantic alliance

Justina: ‘nothing dates like the future’ –  great uneasiness

Russell: gursback continuum – Bill Gibson – that future didn't happen

Life After Death in the 21st Century

Chair: Ernest Edmonds

Technologies that shift our perception of ourselves – space, place & time Mental capabilities Re-thinking physical Linking with nature End of science etoy concerned with wrestling with implications of modern ICTs. Mission Eternity etoy.CORPORATION

etoy does its own dirty work – maintenance etc

does not rely on high-tech hardware

members donate space from their hardware

ME: environmental modelling project

No structural separation between different tasks required of etoy – engineer, lawyer, etc.

Project approaches impossible – eternal existence -  condemned to never finding out success of – never reach eternity

Serious – not fake – obsessed with fact that we are not faking things – but also it’s not science or medicine – it is art.

The scientists also approach as an artwork.

We only used ‘pioneers’ as subjects

ME: what do you bring to that concept of pioneer

Mr. Keiser – micro film pioneer – businessman, actor

Collecting his life in an abstract way was more than just a documentary form -    eg. counting up to his age – make mistakes, which are dramatic within the recording.

Shift festival in Basel  - measured data in a performance



17k pixel led display

low res images -    avoid mis-undertstandings. Remembering as much about forgetting as it is about storing data – resolutions change.

Art & Autonomy: Beyond the Human Paul Brown

Roger Malina said first paper on global warming publishd in 18XX

V little time left before planet loses capacity to sustain life

Humanity will devolve into hunter gatherers

ME: how imagine this scenary in context of an advanced intelligence?

I’m a ‘buddist

No worth preserving me Humaniy an illusion

What is worthwhile?


As far as we know, we are only life in existence

Systems art – conceptual art

Jack Burnham – Beyond Modern Art (1968) -    artist would create autonomous life, - based on Nicoolas Schoffer, CYSP-1 1056, Edward Innatowicz ‘Cybernetic Art’, Edward Ihnatowicz, SAM, 1968

DrawBot V1 -    evolutionary robotics to evolve an automaton to create art

no way organic life can get into space, but these robust creatures can

life afte death is autonomous life forms

Linda Candy Life After death – hoping that there wasn’t one

1970s – age of uncertainty – devised BBC series - -first broadcast 1977 -    Galbraith: contrast great certainties of the past with today’s uncertainty. Decline and subversion of great economic movements


Nicola triscott Wha will kill us off Nuclear technology Doomsday device Threats from emerging technology

Likelihood of extinction – difficulty to predict

Distraction by immediate problems

Die back – overpopulation

Who  lives and who dies?

Space  Is not the escape option

Most sci and technology not human centred at all

Near earth space  - beyond why interesting?

Provoke thought about our planet

Future of the Mind

The Future of the Mind FACT, April 23, 2008.

AL and AL -    celebrity closes down space between people, -    reduction of icons -    less able to find stronger eccentric identities

can we know what is real?

Finish year with broadcast of debates – BBC Radio 3

Ernest Edmonds here in June

Margaret Boden

Cannot expect to answer what is future of mind

Why did Ernest ask me to get involved?

I suppose because…I think about the mind in terms of concepts that relate to computer systems. We’ve learned a lot in last 50 years

Difference between mind and body?


Self? -    under threat from posmodernist, humanities people and cognitive scientists, sherry turkle, -    individuality : prized in some cultures, to what extent can new technologies help express and reinforce individuality or smear it? -    Same icons -    Net art -    Myspace -    So-called communities, but is this a real community? Robin Dunbar – primatologist – formerly in Liverpool – primates have limits on group size for levels of intensity, there for evolutionary reasons.if so, what about so-called communities of 100s.

ME: Milan Kundera – immortality – gesture of agnes

Mike Wheeler -

Laura -    open source conferencing -    set 10 questions to answer

Helen Sloane, curator -    Data Golum – adaptive – piece of code tht will be taken around partner venues o    Working with an AI scientist who wants to polish, but artists like the flaws -    Chamelon – Tina Gonsalez – HCI Ross Piccard – simulate group interaction -    Hive mind – simulation Promised Lands – flomotion – what does promised land mean to users?

David Ingram –John Moores -    HCI – to develop better computer systems that are more effective -    Moving  computers to whole body interaction -    HCI conference -    ‘How the body  shapes  t way we think’

Mike Wheeler- philosopher, nature of mind -    working on a book that deals with visions of minds that have influenced -    distributed/embedded cognition -    I’m interested in what these different things say -    Gestures as part of thought processes – bodily movements as thinking -    Thinking takes place around brain, body and world -    Is it true that if a bunch of us are using same computer system, are minds overlapping? -    AHRC Interactive Mind project –

Simon Blackmore, artist, sculpture and sound -    explore physical structure of technological space -    trees, mathematical algorithms to generate trees

Marta Ruperez – new media curator at FACT -    utopia -    free internet idea not strong

Ross Dalziel, sound music curator, fact -    remote mics around UK to create neural net -    run Sound Network – artist based network

Fragmented Orchestra

Patrick Fox -    Tenantspin fact’s community programme -    Interested in web 2.0 philosophies -    Questions about reality

Julia Youngmann



MB: what is creativity? 3 answers. Distinc between computer art and generative art. Computer art as art where computer is used. Eg. using photoshop. Generative art: processes produce final thing are not under control of artist – these latter raise interesting philosophical issues – authenticity, creativity.

HS: individuality – signature of individual

MB: methods of writing in science and art differ – science – supposed to be third person, so not ‘I did’ but ‘it was done’

MW: idiosyncratic – generative technology – if adaptive over time synchs with artists work, beginning to lose technology – add something extra to art – eg. Amazon adsense capability –

RD: writing as technology

MB: doug hofstader – Godel, Escher, Bach – virtual reality and fiction


Virtual reality and fiction

MB: Virtual Reality and Self-Fictions: Are these the same?

HS: Adaptive systems

MB: anything that learns – chequers programme from 1950s – it was adapting to player

MB: creativity joke generating programme -


Laura Sillars, Mike Kelley, David England, Marta Rupérez, Ross Dalziel

Frame and articulate a question; the direction of their thinking

What are the implications of technology increasingly integrated and embedded; toward the self in relation to culture and the world ...a series of question...

Fragility of technology

Shifting patterns of effectiveness


How much

The unconscious itself Mind as consciousness? Technology is the unconscious

Collective ness

danger of increasing the offloading of responsibility

How you think of yourself in relation to technology 2 approaches A customised gadget that knows everything is just naturally used: confident in it

Like a map being overtaken by tom tom


Its seamlessly integrated;and also there's self regulation;


Glitches in technology/Mis & Dis-information/Is it new?

Shared in some deep sense and you can rely on the technology...



Is the future of the mind based on the self or on wider communities...

Worries around loss/dissolving of the self

Tesco Clubcard Of the Mind Individual experience Is it the tools

view of the world about the self...

Cognitive Science Artificial Intelligence Artificial Resistance

The role of the individual in network art?

Is there a future for the individual mind?

Is the future of the mind collective?

LS: collective or distributed – individual agency within something

MB: Ed Hutchins – how things work on a ship – lots of people on a ship – from anthropology – entered cognitive science

MB: collective/distributed intelligence and the individual artist.

Collective production and individual status? Can they co-exist?

MB: Roy Ascot – interactive art

Collective Products and Network Art: where is the individual?


Does increasing embeddedness in contemporary technology raise dangers of…..?

LS: How do you have a meaningful conversation, construct space to have conversation?

MB: start with questions that are specific but open up broad issues? Their sounding specific enables access.

LS: How do you deal with collective responsibility? Man at war.

MB: distance and responsibility – How can responsibility take place at a distance? (ME: less remote)

MW: how certain technologies disrupt indiv responsibility. Allowing the technology to make decisions for you.

MB: David Levy – computer chess – love and sex with robots – love with robots not possible – new book:

ME: link to Zizek

MB: Could you love a robot?

MW: or, emotions – whether not interacting with someone over a piece of technology – genuine feelings – people might argue could never be genuine love.   Communities and internet – niche communities – liberating – also ghettoizes –

MB: something on computer companions – something on robots – bk: EMW Fisher – ‘Personal Love’ – philosophical analysis of love

HS: déjà vu – some of the questions have been asked many times before –

Human Enhancement: the role of art and design (2008, Feb, RCA)

Human Enhancement : the role of art and design ((new tools and methods)RCA 2008.02.12

Domesticating Enhancement Jon Turney Frankenstein -    make creature big and strong, which he regrets

Darwin -    descent with modification

Visions of future depend on visions of past Shift from one to another

HG Wells -    Darwinian education, taught by TH Huxkley -    Invented the future through langage -    1902 lecture ‘the discovery of the future’; when writing Anticipations -    ‘we of the early 20th c and particulary that growing majority of us…men, no longer more than the present phase of a development….all exploits of….shriva….castles in the sand’

when bgin on changing, why stop? We are technological creatures

two visions of enhancement

1.    transcendence

World, the flesh and the devil

Genetics frustrating path to …- Mechanical Man ‘he new man must appear to those…as a strange monstrious and..but only the logical outcome..although it is possible that man has far to go….before … becomes limiting factor….must happen sooner or later..then…mechanized man…advantage’

Herman Mueller -    genetiiciss – long perspective on ‘out of the night’ – 1936 ‘in time to come…beast thought of the race….evoution still to come….working out of genetic methods…eugenic ideals…new characteristics….further t interests and happiness of .. god like beings…

no indication of finishing point

‘new organs’ -    which?

A technological project

Also represented in sci fi

Late 1920s, X-ray showing genetic mutation made its way into sci fi mags

A ra nge of possibilities

Not sure much has been added since these


Now a more technological project Not speculative Chance to make it happen Genetic engineering – life extension –

Early 1960s, prospect of immortality visible -    first proposal of extending life

freezing organims and thawing

achieve immortality by having frozen, then reanimate

this first strand is the grandest one

Harrington ‘the imortalist’ 1969 -    wider range o cultural and philosophical than Ettinger. Now useful text for transhumanist movement -    starts by saying ‘death is an imposition on the human race and is no longer acceptable’

how you get there can vary

2 kinds of taken for grantedness

first, that can modify

this runs through a l

Adrian Wolfson – 2000 – ‘life without genes’ -    abstract vision of biology as a searching design space -    all virtually present in some realm -    biological search, but if mae more systematic can plumb more areas -    ‘when we have chartered…natural evolutionary…fully in a position to…modify living things….life willl enter anew….no longer historical domain of natural selection…instead.construct and design new living things…’

Other books ‘ fukuyama, essentialist view ofHN;

Greg Stock -    lets move to next stage of evltion -    it’s in our natre to expt - grand narratives on human lives

Lee M. Silver -    drawing on Huxley, etc

Singularity -    moment occur when humanit transcended -    2030 acording to Kurzweil -    humans wil not be most evolved form of intelligence

commuication -    fiction and nojn-fiction boundary highly problematic

Singularity not really a story -just says eth after will be different - cannot write about end of the world

need to sidestep into new reality

if singul=laiy means anything then culture should be so different that cannot say anything about it

‘your speculation is as good as mine’

other level of enhancements – lower level -    putting fuel injection into cars, for eg

these were adopted and developed to Vern Vinge – singulairity

-    1960s speculation on drugs, computers and cyborg

in sci fi, people take adv of a consensual future from which to write

currenty consensual feature includes these features

ME: how do you write unforeseen consequences? Do the unforeseen consequences of sci visions cohere with what actually took place?

State of art for enhancement limited – prozac and steroids

Still quite limited

One eg.

Novel 1992 – Greg Egan – sci fi author ‘Quarantine’ -    enhancement is incidental, though human modification is central -    centres on quantum realities -    consider argument between two of key characters, one defending brain modif, trashuman rhetoric’ -    ‘do you think that brain wiriting from natural selection…peoples attempt to change..touchstone of perfection….god hasn’t done a perfect job….take a long time …to grow out of that bullshit…outdated heap of excuses for the things we couldn’t have, but now we can’ -    also offers image of possibilitie of everyday enhancement – protagonist in flight must disguise himself, what could be more traditional than changing colour of skin: ‘many of the small traders start opening for business around dawn..nanoachines before strets become crowded….’breaking down…melanine in my skin..i stare transxied…as they fade from the dep black…to an olive complxion….reminisent of my grandfather….it’s absurd but pissing away my skin colour is at least as disorientating as….’

Domestication o enhancement is now pervasive

eg. ?Health and safety executive – upstream – foresight – might expect about conditions of workplace, but framed generously – 10 yars ahead – had 4 scenarios – in each one, they assume some technologies of enhancement will be deployed – suggested that in most auspicious scenario ‘digital rose garden’ rdescribe heightend comfort with managing risks, heightened…transhumanist 20s…..pharmacological….extrme sports enthusiasts’, less desirable, use of performance enhancing drugs imposed by company; corporate training involves training in their use; worse one involves use by organized crime – fourth option to use to cope with multiple jobs, to look after aged

was going to talk about Freeman Dyson and domestication of technology

Questions & Answers

Anders: prob with singularity, all thinking stops. Might be trends towards transitions; for singularity might; foresee big things happening and this makes us stop thinking about it

AXXX: coming from largest AL lab in world, they think in 500 years might work out how nematode worm function. Brain computer interfaces -

Mark: whose points of view do we give credence to – whose vision – eg. Delphi study; what is the science going to be?

Oron: an artist worked on Singularity. ME: Check who. I’m concerned that singularity appears apocalyptic

Anders: concerned about this idea that singularity is some sort of religious conviction. I’m now trying to defy idea of superintelligence; we can get some form of superintelligence quite easily; aspects of singularity get lost since people get caught up in apocalyptic trance

Jon: James Martin said Moore law will continue; don’t call artificial intel, but non-human intell;

James: dog project; wolf was peak of dog evolution; now changed  evolutionary characteristics; domestication has diminished; it’s ok as they no longer need them; senses redundant somehow;

Jon: standard line – genetic modification – dogs

Oron: domestication led to shrinking brain;

Jon: freeman dyson – david brind – think about conseqs of future technology is what would it be like if everyone had it – flower shows; bilt a whole culture around modifying organisms; genetics of butterly wing colour – some artist is probably doing it

Design Fictions Tony

How fictional/unrealistic design can play a part in how we think about biotechnology

Not about predicting t future or forecasting

Designers naturally domesticate technologies -    atterns of consmption

run through various types of design fictions

sketch book

Oron Catts – victimless meat

Wh the process of domestication might hav on

Dressing the Meat of Tomorrow Ames King

Interested in designing the meat

What would it look like?

What will be different about this meat? What size?

Family sies? What family?

Memnto Mori Michael Burton

Grow hair of loved one after theyhave died

Fiction is in the behaviour Assumes something has changed in society Has become normal Not saying this is a good idea, but what would people feel about this

Thr+ill Mikail Metthey

These are al 4 week projects

Engineer illness out of our lives

Maybe illness will become a recreational activity

Place where people went to infect themselves

Reasons: hallucinating, like drug use or to connect with previous selves

Proposing an environment

Cross between a car park, sick room and a pub

Recuperation beds

Indirect way of dealing with implications of technologies, rather than becoming obsessed with t technology itself They do become sci fi

The Race Michael Burton

Certain concept of healh care, based on particular notion of ecysystem

Question with ay rwe relate to nature

Maybe a different notion of health will emerged

Began with maggots; today could be used to treat infection, but most people disgusted by them

How to present maggots Biophilia Cinic Expose ourselves to constructive germs

Modify lamb to be extra dirty and spread to us

Future Farm -    body becomes farm -    refer to organ farming -    funghi grown onbody used by some company

body, activate genes and mutate to embrace more symbiotic nature -    woman facila hair developed into a cage for grasshopper as nest

these are iconic

Chrono_shredder Susanna Hertich If it were possible, to hibernatre Not to explore adv, bu how attitude towards time might change Made clock – chronoshredder, while asseep each page of calendar shreds; conserving energy; might live longer, but life is passing

Evidence Dolls Dunn and Raby, Pompidou Centre, 204-5

Produce design project for design as a form of critique To raise issues Hypothetical product called evidence doll

Prior bio projects in dept, someone would do a project about not laving genetic traces Ways of masking

What about for woman -    dna ‘penis drawers

samples of tissue analysed how might impact on dating, etc

each doll was customized to represent lover -    philosopher at oxford -    fantasy lover -    heartbroken woman

capture conversation

‘I would go and get the DNA stuff tested. There’s something romantic about collecting a hair sample..there is something lovely about that’

dvd of actress orating the interviews

‘Everything comes 10 years the project, we are trying to move upstream

turn fiction into

design fictions could be constructive

Biojewellery Tobbie Kerridge, Nikkis Stott, Dr Ian Thompson

New form of wedding ring, How could bioengineering impact on commitment Take bone from 2 lovers, worked on by jeweller to create  ring Once it got to this stage, generate interest, wrked with engineer Ian Thommpson to engineer Found couples who wanted to donate ring Once project becomes real, develops more focused Eg. how identify an audience representative of real people Eg. peple already interested in body adornment are interested Got to point where wanted to take sample, but could not find hospital that would take it for poetic reason Poetic need becomes a vald need

We discovered that when have wisdom teeth removed, also bone tissue, which could be harvested

Indirectly we access labs in imperial college Might start in fictional, then through vision end up in producing a product

Practical side not exclsive or

Questions & Answers

Jens: what does it change when becomes a reality? To do it the other way around, more hermenutical approach, what does the relative factors change?

Tony: on going debate on interaction in design; extremely difficult to get access to labs; where take more classical design approach, model more poetically, is easier.  When at this point, are making a decision about wanting it implemented. When started project, consulted bioengineers; what we’re trying to do with these projects is sit in fuzzy space – between moral ground - ; interesting space between idea of fiction, reality and fantasy that we can occuy and have different purposes

Joanna Z: science – what kind of relationship exists between these projects and ttradl discourses of science; wary of sci art collaborations – have been v conservative – artists trying to get some of scientists money – so, describe what you do with students as different; other q is whether, destination of projects, where they are going; just a conceptal exercise to become better designers? Are they aimed for galleries

Tony: where this work sits in the world is a big isse; don’t want to be seen simply as art for galleries; as a designer, if categorized as art, then can be wacky; but when proposals about alternative health care, people more wary; when someone says it’s art, leads to specific conntations; imp that we present as designl bt aren’t places in design to present it; so end p crossing over intogallery spaces; MoMa new york will display some of these works; we’re very aware of sciart and we are quite critical; we try to look at science as driving focce and ask how are we going to engage; instead of designing applications, we look at implications; one of the roles is as a provocation; these things are quite banal, quite down to earth, not to critizes but rather than let natural flow happen, by looking at positive and negative outcomes, try to stay way from that; one thing we’re really missing so far is how to make that leap; connecting to organizations to have impact is next step;

Anders:  qite a bit of my work might be on wrong questions; what enhancements do people want; a day dreaming enhancement might be better than a memory enhancement; find out what people wish for is needed

Tony: V&A project looking at visions of teenagers for enhancement; went into a school with 10yr olds; talked about nano and bioart, worked with teacher to brainstorm and came up with over 100 genetically modified toys; no shortage of imagination; processes for facilitating interactions and facilitating through plicy makers to go to higher level, not sure how would happen; lower level is easier

XXXX: what if work with ethicist

Tony: Elio Caccavale is doing this; working at PEALS; trying to speculate on what happens when technology allows for different family structures to emerge; trying to create serious design hypothetical capsules to act as medium for conversations;

SymbioticA – a model for artistic engagement with t life sciences Oron Catts

Recently been changed to a Centre. Miranda Grounds, Stuart Bunt and Oron Catts

Life asa raw material -    HG Wells, 1895 – We overlook only too often the fact that a living being may also be regarded as raw material, as something plastic, something that may be shaped and altered’

Ear on back of mouse – ear fell off two weeks after those images were taken

‘fighting the hype’ -    crusader against genohype -    Keynote address at genomics and society meeting (I will ask them to change their name)

Artistic lab

Critique of life sciences

Steve Kurtz, ORLAN,

Not just a production residency, but research, so not reqd to come up with outcome

Only masters in Biological Arts offered in a science faculty in t world

Also engage in exhibitions and symposia

Core project: Tissue Culture and Art Project (initiated in 1996) Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

Promoting notion of useless research

To engage with ideas, should design objects for cultural discussions

We refus funding from pressure groups

Would never accept funding from biotech companies

But our work is funded, but not by sciart funding

History of Living-Fragments / Semi-Living -    1885 Roux embryonic chick cells stay alive in a saline solution -    1907 Harrison’s first partial life entity; amphibian spinal cord in lymph clot -    1913 Carrel grows cells in cultre for long periods – fed regulary under aseptic conditions -    1948 first animal cell line (mouse) -    1951 HeLa cell line established -    Standard of Tissue Culture (model, tool) -    1990s – Tissue Engineering / regenerative medicine /antibody production / non biomedical use

Eduard Uhienhuth wrote in 1916 -    ‘Through the discovery of tissue culture we have, so to speak, created a new type of body on which to grow the cell’

Carrel -    regarded a Dr Frankenstein -    claied his lab in Rockerfella institute was inspiration for Hollywood rankenstein

New Kind of Body – the tecno scientific body -    semi-living entities ‘cared’ for in a techno-scientific body

problem with humancentric view

when examine bodies, notice similarities

Tissue culture as a science -    1910-1930

semi-living dos not seem to conform to either Linnaean taxonomy nor molecular systematics


Helacyton gartleri – a new species Van Velen and Maiorana 1991 -    ‘species originated in diverse ways. HeLa cells are t best-known cultured cells of human origin…’

McCoy cell line – human/mouse cells -

Steven Erfelt

Cell fusion Break of membrane

The Pig Wings Project (2000-2003)

Questions & Answers

Anders: You say uncomfortable with human enhancement but what about biomass?

Oron: yes

Jo Z: engagement aspect; how is agenda of provocateur – moralistic way of teaching -

Oron: 2 roles, artist and provocateur;

Tony: what wouldn’t you do? (ethical boundaries to performance?) Oron: some of the work in SymbioticA I find disturbing, but I wouldn’t censor it eg. nerve cultures; engaging with animal also engaging. Became vegetarian after victimless meat project; but as long as society is utilizing animals, artists at least have a right to do the same – implicit and explicit violence; I hold 5 ethics approvals for artists to undergo biopsies on themselves for their work;

Jimmy: Kevin Warwick’s brain cell work – culturing brain cells from rats, projecting when human brain cells might be cultured;

Oron: we were involved in a project that was doing this;

Jens: becoming vegetarian – Peter Singer – victimless lover – singer wrote paper for art magazine, artist killed animals for photograph, arguing it is unacceptable,

Oron: in Singer’s recent book, doesn’t say shouldn’t eat meat, but should eat ethical meat; Craig Ventor – said about misuse of biological knowledge;

Presence/Representation – Metaphore/Metonymy: Approaches to Art involving Biotechnology Jens Hauser

presence –

Liverpool FACT exhibit – curating of presence effects


Technological visualization tools

Reading images – how far is appropriate?

Image instead of text

NYAS – Art and Biology conf, April 2007

Many scientists complain that have powerpointization of science – hollywoodization

To engage artists, stress signif points

Edgard Varese (1883-1965) -    composer sound sculptor visionary -    music, embodies new world

why does music produce better presence effects than visual arts?

What would an art be like that achieves productive tension?

FACT conference

Denis Noble – synthetic biology – ‘the music of life’ -    played song on his guitar for start of presentation -    stress not to search for programme, all about harmony

title ‘sk-interfaces’ to avoid pointing to the future.

‘exploding borders, creating membranes’ – sub-title of exhibition

not a sciart show, not illustrating scientific knowledge

Hans Ulrich – meaning effects vs presence effects -    ‘Production of Presence: What meaning cannot convey

should not dance to a tango with lyrics -    lyrics disrupts tango -    deprive full pleasure of fusion between tango music an movement of body -    when dancing, even most proficient dancers cannot grasp lyrics

Victimless Leather

The Eighth Day-  Eduardo Kac -    biobot moves with colony; biology invades mechanics -    camera accessed by web audience

Meaning culture vs Presence culture

Quoting: artists as seismographs –

Questions & Answers

Claim that rate of viewers at FACT is five times higher than other exhibits

High emphasis on training of gallery personnel

Mark: mechanism for recording peoples reactions to exhibit

Jens: phd student from york university doing audience research

Tony: does the emotional response matter to you?

Technologies, Art & Identity Sandra Kemp

Future Face

Photograph -    how are artists, technologists using it?

Peter Butler – face transplant surgeon

Enhancement, identity

‘Still life with stem cells’

‘lump’ – Life form with Uninvolved(?) Mutant Properties

Human Mutant Project

Patricia Puccini -    FRankentstein’s mistake, not a good parent

What constitutes a family

Thomas Broomfield’s ‘Misfit’

Rhona ‘Animal/Hman’

Doesn’t take sides

Social values / relationships that count

‘Give your child a chance in life, don’t leave it up to nature’

Kac’s Bunny -    feel different if it’s your pet bunny

Penny McCarthy -    ‘clones live in the fridge’

Orson Welles – DR Moreno ‘ existence limits of plasticity unlimited form’

Anthony Gormley – all art is about what it means to be alive

Production and consumption of visual

Much more media coverage in science than art

Media and biology have ben profoundly visual practices

Diagnosis relies on eye and ability to learn from

Richard Sennett – ‘The Craftsman’

Challenge t traditional notion of beauty

Classical aesthetic theory no longer applied

Keats ‘no longer know what beautiful is’

Portrait Gallery – Sir John Sulston – first genetic portrait called ‘A Portrait’


Re-enacted? ‘if alter architecture of body…alter body’s mind’

Gary Schneider -    genetic self portrait -    Columbia Medical School -    XX specimen -    Looking beneath surface of face, redefining portraiture

How no represent personhood or identity|?

Sensibility – emotion, attraction


Oscar Wilde – Life Imitates Art

Ethics and Aesthetics

Artists always loking for new material

Informed resistance vs hysteria

Foucault – task is to refuse what we are not disXXX what we are

T H body is central to explorations on these XX

Larry Miler -    genetic code -    copyright  certificate

ME: Bioart as Bioethics

Will t face continue to be shaped by evol or will we customize

Where does a face begin and end? First face transplant was a replant -    10yr old girl, hair caught in something and ripped face off

2005 face transplant - she feels she’s lost substantial part of identity

1992 Francis Dagony – psych emerges from complex structure interior and exterior ‘threshold’ same in portraiture

upon seeing of first phoo portrait -    ‘shadow of the person’

Kathryn Ikan(?) – ‘Elle’ -    AI and movement sensors -    Art, not interaction, but open, flawed system, whose viewere and art work esthetic own process of enjoyment (NOT SURE THIS IS RIGHT)

Real and Virtual

Intellectual Property – 199-2000 -    Donna McLean applied patent on herself – GB00001800 -    ‘It has taken 30 years of hard labour’

Posthuman Designs

here's one from a year back at Oxford University [slideshare id=1202730&doc=miah2008posthumandesignsweb-090326100230-phpapp01]

Bodies of the Future (2009, Apr 15, Edinburgh)

Stelarc, Martyn Ware, Andrew Shoben, Dr Jonathan Freeman, Chaired by Michelle Kasprzak

What do we want our bodies to look like in the future? How will technology shape our relationship with the physical environment and the multifaceted identities we create? A panel including Stelarc (Brunel University), Martyn Ware (the Illustrious Company), Andrew Shoben (Greyworld), Dr Jonathan Freeman (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Michelle Kasprzak (Scottish Arts Council), will explore the shifting boundaries between the technologically adapted body and the concept of self and the sense of place.

Duration: 1 hour.

Organised by: PEACH, presence research in action

Biodigital Lives (2008, July 14, CFPs)

Biodigital lives

Call for papers and presentations:

Biodigital lives: making, consuming and archiving the lives of technoscience: 14 July 2009, 9am - 5.30, Educational Development Building (EDB), University of Sussex, UK,

Hosted by the Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen), the Centre for Material Digital Culture and the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research,

Convened by Dr Kate O'Riordan and Dr Adrian Mackenzie, other confirmed participants include Dr Caroline Bassett, Anna Dumitriu, Dr Joan Haran, Dr Adam Hedgecoe, Dr Margaretta Jolly, Professor Maureen McNeil, Dr Sharif Mowlabocus, Dr Jussi Parikka, Ms Lizzie Thynne, Mr Kirk Woolford,

The aim of this one-day workshop is to examine issues and questions about digital and biodigital life, lives and identities framed by biosciences, contemporary media and biopolitical cultures. From the lives of scientists to the technologisation of life, 'Biodigital lives' will analyse biotechnological and bioinformatic forms and practices of identifying, archiving and storying the living. It will discuss diverse forms of new/digital mediation and informatics as they pertain to the lives of people, plants, animals, microbes, viruses and ecosystems entangled in global media, biopolitical institutions and bioeconomies.

Topics might include:

How digital/life history and genetic genealogies intersect

Biomediation and biotechnological media in reading and writing lives

Biodigital memory, narration and identity (e.g. Memory and archive, genetics and life story, digital life practices)

Genomic databases and biobanks as biographical resources

Techniques of writing, reading, editing and publishing the lives of species and populations

Life archives and life histories of humans and non-humans

Synthetic biology and bioinformatic communities from the perspective of biological literacy, design and participation

Genomes as digital/media artefacts - new media/biotech convergences and commercial genealogies

Genetics and genomics as/in life narratives and popular culture

Aesthetic encounters in biodigital life in sci-art, film, games, software, art etc

Genealogies and critical potentials of bioart/digital media art intersections

The workshop aims to make visible, and interrogate, the very different kinds of info-bio mediation, hybridisation and divergence that are taking place, to work through some of the specificities and connections across diverse fields of contemporary digital life making and storying. The workshop will be arranged around short presentations and will favour discussion and broad participation. Please send abstracts of 300 words and a short bio to Kate O'Riordan by April 20th 2009:

Key Dates:

Monday 20th April - deadline for all submissions

Monday 11th May - final confirmation and draft programme

Tuesday 26th May - final programme published

Wednesday 3rd June - final deadline for registration

Tuesday 14th July - EVENT

Please note that the Journal of Media Practice will be holding an event on Monday 13th July at the same venue and participants are encouraged to stay for both events.