University of Dundee

Growing Biological Art, when life becomes a New Palette for Artistic Possibilities

Event Date: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 15:15
Event Location: 
Sir Kenneth and Lady Noreen Murray Seminar Room
Event Speaker: 
Oron Catts
SymbioticA: the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia
Event Type: 

Contemporary biological research is usually discussed in relation to biomedical research and applications. However in the last decade we witness a shift; there is a growing interest in exploring spin-off biology technologies for other ends, such as consumer products, art and design.  This talk will outline these developments in areas such as in vitro meat and leather, actuators and bio machine interfaces, speculative design and contemporary artistic practices. 

SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts is where much of the research into artistic use of the life science takes place; the talk would draw on extensive experience of using tissue engineering and other life science technologies for artistic and deign ends to speculate about what lead to these applications and their possible future developments. Avoiding utopian and dystopian postures and using the notion of the contestable, this talk will also highlight some philosophical and ethical consideration stemming from new technological approaches to life in relating fields such as synthetic biology and metagenomics.


Oron Catts

Award winning Artists, Researchers and Curator, Catts formed the internationally renowned Tissue Culture and Art Project with Ionat Zurr. He is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA: the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design at the Royal College for the Arts UK (2015-2017). He is a Visiting Professor at Biofilia – Based for Biological Arts, Aalto University Finland (2015-2020). He is considered a pioneer in the field of biological arts and publish widely, exhibit internationally and his work has been collected by MoMA New York. Catts’ ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; their work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food.

Hosts: Sarah Cook and Ali Floyd