[ISEA2023] Artists Talk: Marion Laval-Jeantet & Benoît Mangin — Holy Coli, the mice in odour of sanctity

Artist Statement

Theme: Interspecies Subtheme: Symbiotic Imaginaries

Keywords: Symbiosis, hybrid art, bioart, microbiote, animals, laboratories, ethics, GMO, bacteria, anthropology, art history.

Holy Coli, The Mice in Odor of Sanctity is a biotechnological art performance consisting of the transformation of the microbiota of a mouse with genetically modified Escherichia Coli to enable a mice’s excrement to express odours close to violet scents. This experience, first, represents an attempt to anticipate future delusions of the cosmetic industry and, second, marks the rehabilitation of a precious but unloved animal: the laboratory mouse.

This performative work also addresses symbiosis both upon a bio- logical basis, on the field of microbiote, and upon an anthropological basis, focusing on our symbolic and pragmatic relationship to animals, the aims and conditions of the manipulation of the living being conceived as an environmental whole, via a specific stage for co-corporeality.

  • Marion Laval-Jeantet & Benoît Mangin formed the artistic duo Art Orienté Objet in 1991. They won Golden Nika at Ars Electronica, in Hybrid Arts category, in 2011. Marion Laval-Jeantet is also Professor at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France, in charge of the laboratory Art Science and Society.