PennDesign - Meyerson Hall (Room B3)210 South 34th StreetPhiladelphia PA 19104
Bioengineering and life sciences are usually discussed in relation to biomedical research and applications. However, in the last decade we witnessed a shift; there is a growing interest in exploring engineering and biomedical technologies for consumer products, art, and design. Meat grown in petri dishes break into cooking shows, cheese is made out curators' tears, victimless leather jackets, pig wings, semi-living buildings and genetically-modified landscapes become part of speculative cultural practices, occupying the imagination of contemporary artists and designers. Avoiding utopian and dystopian postures, opting instead to present scenarios open to be contestably challenged, this conversation will highlight some philosophical and ethical considerations stemming from new technological approaches to life and neolifism, relating fields such as synthetic biology, metagenomics, and tissue engineering. Bio:Oron Catts is an artist, researcher and curator whose work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project (which he founded in 1996) is part of the NY MoMA design collection and has been exhibited and presented internationally. In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA, an artistic research laboratory housed within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia. The lab has produced numerous cultural experiments in the field of neurosciences, molecular biology, anatomy, physics, anthropology, and ethics. Under Oron’s leadership, SymbioticA has gone on to win the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009 Oron was recognized by Thames & Hudson’s 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future book as one of five in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work”. Oron was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School and a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University.