[ISEA2017] Artist Talk: Louise Mackenzie — Transformational: A Psychotransgenic Workshop on Making With Life

Artist Statement

This talk presents initial responses from Transformational – a bio-art workshop that forms part of an ongoing research collaboration between Northumbria University and the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Newcastle University. Tranformational introduces the concept of psychotransgenics: the situating of oneself physically in the position of transforming a thought into a living organism and the encounter of doing so. The workshop enables participants to explore the potential of DNA as data storage device for text, music or image, create their own DNA storage designs for potential future use, choose whether they wish to physically store information within the body of a living organism and then reflect on their decision via a video diary. Transformational forms a part of Evolution of the Subject – an ongoing research project that explores the evolution of data within living material through fine art practice. It is in part a dissemination of the artist’s research, addressing the questions: How might the agency of organisms be explored through a fine art practice situated within biotechnology? What possibilities exist when we have the ability to store data within living organisms? In what ways can an art practice situated in the laboratory expand the discourse around the use of transgenic organisms?

  • Louise Mackenzie, Artist, PhD Candidate, BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art, Northumbria University, UK. Louise Mackenzie is an artist creating mixed media installations that explore life as medium. Recent works have included video and sound art on the agency of the micro-organism. Her current research explores living matter as material and the possibility of synthetic evolution. Louise received the New Graduate Award at Synthesis, Manchester Science Festival, 2013, was a finalist in the international Bio Art & Design Awards, 2015 and received commissions for Lumiere Durham 2015 and Photo España 2016. Louise is a PhD candidate with the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art and member of the Cultural Negotiations of Science research group. Her research is documented on the website: www.viralexperiments.co  loumackenzie.com