[ISEA2013] Artists Statement: Guy Ben-Ary & Kirsten Hudson – In Potentia (2012)

Artists Statement

Mixed media (Foreskin cells, Stem cells, reprogrammed neurons, tissue engineering, electrophysiology, computer controlled devices and sound, foreskin cells, stem cells, neurons)

In potentia is a liminal, boundary creature created as an artistic and speculative techno-scientific experiment with disembodied human material, diagnostic biomedicine equipment and a stem cell reprogramming technique called ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ (iPS). It is a functioning neural network or ‘biological brain’ encased within a purpose built sculptural incubator reminiscent of eighteenth century scientific paraphernalia, complete with a custom-made automated feeding and waste retrieval system and DIY electrophysiological recording setup. Created by artists Guy Ben-Ary and Kirsten Hudson in collaboration with Mark Lawson (Course coordinator of Product and Furniture design at Curtin University) and Stuart Hodgetts (Director of the Spinal Cord Repair Laboratory at the University of Western Australia), in potentia prompts us to consider how techno-scientific developments have led us to a point where, rather than being a concrete and discrete category, who or what is called a person is a highly contingent formation.

  • Guy Ben-Ary is an artist and researcher based at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, located within the University of Western Australia. Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Ben-Ary specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive.
  • Kirsten Hudson, Faculty of Humanities, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University, Sydney, AU.

Developed with funds from the Department of Culture and the Arts Western Australia.