[ISEA2006] Artists Talk: Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Jennifer Willet & Shawn Bailey – BIOTEKNICA: Laboratory Remix

Artists Statement

BIOTEKNICA is a fictitious corporation, generating designer organisms on demand. Irrational and grotesque, our specimens are modeled on the Teratoma, a cancerous multi-tissue growth. Initially virtual, our organisms are now under laboratory development using living tissue. BIOTEKNICA both embraces and critiques biotechnology, considering the contradictions and complexities that these technologies offer the future of humanity.

Abstract

BIOTEKNICA is a fictitious corporation, which projects its viewers into the future, where designer organisms are generated on demand in a virtual laboratory. The organisms produced by BIOTEKNICA, however, do not adhere to the structures and functionality normally manifest in nature. Similar to mutations depicted in The Fly, Rosemary’s Baby, and Alien Resurrection, our specimens are irrational and grotesque. They are modeled on the Teratoma, an unusual cancerous growth containing multiple tissues like hair, skin, and vascular systems. Monstrous as this may seem, scientists today see the Teratoma as an instance of spontaneous cloning, and are conducting research on the Teratoma with the goal of developing future technologies. BIOTEKNICA both embraces and critiques biotechnology, considering the contradictions and deep underlying complexities that these technologies offer the future of humanity.

In the past, BIOTEKNICA has manifest as a purely multimedia production/installation. However, we are now taking steps to bring our theoretical specimens out of their virtual environment and in to the laboratory. In Summer of 2004 we were invited to work as Research Fellows at the Symbiotica Art/Science Laboratories at The University of Western Australia, where we began preliminary investigations into growing organic prototypes that serve as new representations of our product line. Here we commenced research with tissue culture protocols in the production of artwork as pioneered by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, of the internationally recognized Tissue Culture and Art Project, and SymbioticA founders. BIOTEKNICA: Organic Tissue Prototypes will be completed in 2006.