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TCotA Arts Forum | Oron Catts + Corrie Van Sice | 1911-2016 - The Stories of Life as a Raw Material


TCotA Forum is a public program of the Tasmanian College of the Arts

Start Date

22 Jul 2016 12:30 pm

End Date

22 Jul 2016 1:30 pm


Dechaineux Lecture Theatre

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TCotA Forum welcomes all students and members of the public.

Mick Douglas

1911-2016 – The Stories of Life as a Raw Material

An interesting phenomenon is re-emerging, heralded by developments in the life sciences and applied technologies, coupled with the introduction of engineering principles – specifically in the field of Synthetic Biology; as technology becoming more lifelike, life is becoming more technology-like. As we allow our technology more autonomy (i.e. driverless cars and killer drones) we try to assert our control over autonomous living systems (i.e. synthetic biology). More than anything this phenomenon blurs the ontological, perceptual (and technological) boundaries between what we consider living, semi-living and non-living. However, some of these stories have been told before, the term synthetic biology have been coined in 1911 partly as a result of an intellectual debate between vitalists and materialists.

This special Art Forum will explore artistic attempts to deal with life that is becoming a raw material to be engineered, and the cultural amnesia concerning the transformation of life into technology. 

Oron Catts is co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts in the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia. He is an artist, researcher and curator at the forefront of the emerging field of biological arts, whose work addresses shifting perceptions of life.

Corrie Van Sice is a creative researcher and engineer. She develops technologies through partnerships with biologists, artists and designers. Her work applies concepts of bio-mimesis to the production of fabrication methodologies, which identify the inherent potential for matter to become functional, and hun curiosity's creative influence on natural systems.

Image credit: The Mechanism of Life – After Stephane Leduc, The Tissue Culture and Art Project. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

TCotA Forum is a weekly series of free public lectures held at the Tasmanian College of the Arts (Hunter St) during the semester. TCotA Forum welcomes all students and members of the public, providing a unique opportunity to hear local, national and international visiting scholars and presenters from diverse sectors of the arts discuss their area of professional practice.